KUCHING — The Sarawak economy is expected to grow at five per cent in 2012 from the projected 4.5 per cent this year, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Monday.

Taib, who is also state Finance Minister, said next year’s projected growth is supported by strong domestic demand and economic activity generated by the on-going projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan and the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

“The state’s economic performance this year (2011) will also be underpinned by the sustained expansion of private domestic demand and strong exports of commodities arising from high commodity prices and favourable regional demand,” he said when tabling the Supply (2012) Bill, 2011 at the Sarawak legislative assembly sitting here.

However, concern over the uncertainties in the United States and Japan and the deepening European sovereign debt crisis would have an impact on the state’s economic growth, he said.

In comparison, he said, the national economy is estimated to grow at around five to six per cent, largely driven by domestic demand next year, from a projected five to 5.5 percent this year.

Taib said the growth of public investments is projected to grow slightly higher at 1.2 per cent in 2012 from one per cent this year as various projects, especially in the Score area, are accelerated to meet industries’ demand.

The implementation progress of Score projects and those under the economic transformation programme would further boost investors’ confidence, with private investment expected to expand by eight per cent next year from 5.4 per cent in 2011, he said.

The labour market also showed a nationwide improvement for the first half of this year, with a total of 33,772 job vacancies reported to the Manpower Department in Sarawak.

The job vacancies were mainly in agriculture (31.5 per cent of the total), manufacturing (11.6 per cent), construction (9.9 per cent) and services (36.4 per cent), he said.

The state government is also supportive of the federal government’s efforts to cushion the impact of inflation on the rakyat while local businessmen and industrialists must be more creative and innovative as well as efficient and productive to ensure local products are competitive in the global market, he said.

The state’s inflation was recorded at 2.7 per cent in the first half of this year and is expected to remain below three per cent for 2011, he added.