According to Sarawak’s premier, Sarawak will be Borneo’s first legacy capital
In response to Indonesia’s development of a new capital city on Borneo, Sarawak will establish and position itself as Borneo’s first legacy capital for business events, declared the Premier of Sarawak, The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg, at the 10th Anak Sarawak Awards, which were hosted by Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak).
The industry’s role now is to drive sustainable, purpose-driven business events and strategically prioritise topics that fall within the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030. As explained by the Premier, the old narrative of measuring business event success purely by its return on investment and economic values is no longer relevant.
Instead, the new narrative of Sarawak’s business events would be to measure according to its return on objectives and influence on sector and community development, environmental and social sustainability, and promoting good governance in addition to its economic viability. The business events industry, one of the six priority economic sectors listed in the PCDS, is poised to play a pivotal role in achieving the strategy’s mission.
“This is Sarawak adopting transformative thinking — first-tier thinking,” said The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg. “Legacy impact is Sarawak’s value proposition beyond business events, but the proposition for all sectors and industries. We can no longer confine our thinking to just Sarawak. We must adopt a broader perspective that incorporates the opportunities present in Borneo. Indonesia’s new capital Nusantara is already developing and once it emerges, our business events industry should be ready to seize opportunities.”
“To support these measures, the Sarawak Government is already planning to develop new infrastructure,” continued the Premier. “Borneo Convention Centre Kuching will be expanded; Miri will have its own convention centre, and Sarawak is establishing its own airline to improve our connectivity around the region. We will also expand the manpower at Business Events Sarawak, who will drive these changes. The agency will take on a critical role and funding will be increased to support sustainable, purpose-driven business events.
The Premier also announced that the current Anak Sarawak Awards will be retired in favour of a bigger and bolder programme to complement Sarawak’s vision of becoming a legacy capital. The new programme is titled “Borneo Inspires Legacy Awards” and will encompass fresh categories and welcome nominations from all over the world.
Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts revealed that the industry’s performance is surpassing expectations. “In 2022, Sarawak exceeded its initial target by 111% to secure 100 business events worth RM RM326.3 million in total economic impact — surpassing the target by 196%. Delegate expenditure is estimated at RM117.3 million and tax revenue of RM19.6 million, while 26,000 job opportunities are expected to arise,” said The Honourable Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. “We won every international bid last year at 100% — an increase of 15.8% in 2020 and 7% in 2021 — indicating that we have a strong value proposition in legacy impact. Echoing the Premier, the new narrative of business events will cast a wider net to secure impacts beyond tourism.”
Behind Sarawak’s transformation is a decisive strategy that is consistent with its strategic direction on legacy impact. “We are launching the Legacy Impact Master Action Plan in Germany on 23 May at IMEX Frankfurt — one of the world’s largest business events trade shows” announced Amelia Roziman, BESarawak’s CEO. “One component of the action plan is to recognise the innovation and social impact of the business events industry, hence the new award programme as announced by Premier.”
The 10th Anak Sarawak Awards is Malaysia’s first business events award programme. This year was themed “Passion Inspires Legacies”, a celebration of achievements and unwavering commitment. Out of the 27 nominees shortlisted, 9 winners were revealed. The winners are:
- Young Leader Award – Hii Mei Ching (Borneo Plux Sdn. Bhd.)
- Journalism Awards
- Print/Online Award – Priscilla Tawie Anak Sulok (New Sarawak Tribune)
- Broadcasting Award – TVS (Sarawak Media Group)
- Business Events Awards
- Convention of Excellence Award – 8th International Forum on Industrial Bioprocessing 2019 (Curtin University Malaysia)
- Corporate Meetings and Incentive Excellence Award – Spiral Eventz Management Sdn. Bhd.
- Meeting Venues of Excellence – Borneo Convention Centre Kuching
- Products and Services of Excellence – E.E.M. Event and Exhibition Management Sdn. Bhd.
- Sarawak Legacy Award – Better Air Quality Conference 2018 (The Clean Air Forum Society of Malaysia – MyCAS)
- Outstanding Achievement Award – Dr. Mohd Raili bin Suhaili (SEGI University – Sibu Clinical Campus)
To ensure that all submissions are evaluated fairly and with credibility, national and international organisations were engaged in the judging process. The judges are from the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak (MTCP), International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), Malaysian Association Of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (MACEOS), Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Sibu Business Events Committee (SBEC) and Miri Business Events Committee (MBEC).
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