Development Bank of Sarawak officially launched today
Posted on : 03 Nov 2017  Source of News: The Malaysian Insight
Development Bank of Sarawak officially launched today

THE state-owned Development Bank of Sarawak (DBOS) was officially launched today, and when it becomes operational in January, it will have a paid-up capital of RM500 million.

The bank, incorporated on May 11, is a non-prescribed development financial institution incorporated under the Companies Act 2016.

It is fully owned by Capital Development Resource (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, which, in turn, is 100% owned by the state financial secretary.

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, during the launch in Kuching, said the state needed its own bank to fund its development activities.

"We have to run to be able to catch up with the more developed parts of the country and the developed world.

"We have to decide our own destiny and not depend too much on others, and we cannot complain all the time and do nothing for ourselves.

"We cannot wait for budget allocations, state or federal, to be sufficient because it will never be sufficient.”

He said after being appointed chief minister earlier this year, among the first things he did was to explore innovative financial models employed in other countries that Sarawak could adopt to finance projects that were strategic to the state's development.

He said one of the most glaring cases that came to mind was the deplorable condition of more than 1,000 schools in Sarawak, which urgently need to be repaired or rebuilt.

"This issue is not new, and we have been waiting for years to resolve it.

"We cannot moan and blame others all the time. We have to take the necessary action on our own, even though education is a federal matter.”

He said although Budget 2018 had allocated RM1 billion to finance the repairing and rebuilding of the schools, "this is not enough".

Abang Johari said it was also prudent for Sarawak to have its own bank because its vast financial reserve, reportedly around RM38 billion, was parked in various banks "that will charge us interest if we borrow from them".

"Borrowing money from the banks with our money inside and being charged interest sounds stupid. "

He said with DBOS, the state could venture into a number of strategic projects to expedite development "that would be financed with our own resources".

The focus would be on infrastructure development, and developments in oil and gas, renewable energy, urban transport, telecommunications, digital economy, healthcare and integrated agriculture.

Under renewable energy, Abang Johari said one area of interest was tapping into the state's vast potential in water resources to produce hydrogen gas for export.

Hydrogen gas is used in electric-powered vehicles, which are making inroads in the European, American and Canadian markets.

DBOS is also expected to play a major part in Sarawak's urban transport programme, in particular, the light rail transit system to connect Kuching with its periphery, and the state's pursuit of the digital economy.

"DBOS is the way forward for us through the provision of facilities like term loan, bridging loan, revolving credit facility for working capital financing, loan syndication and bank guarantee,” said the chief minister.

The bank is chaired by State Secretary Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

Also on the board of directors are Deputy State Financial Secretary Laura Lee Ngien Hion; Sharkawi Alis, a lawyer who heads various business entities in the property, investment and insurance sectors; Christopher Adrian, a consultant engineer who is involved in infrastructure development projects in the state; and Ho Swee Huat, a Sarawakian banker based in Singapore who has vast experience in the securities and banking sector.

The bank's CEO is Sim Kheng Boon, who has 30 years' experience in the securities and banking sector and whose last post was director of AmInvestment Bank Bhd's Sarawak region. – November 3, 2017.

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