China/Malaysia group eyeing tilapia in Batang Ai

Zhang (second right) presenting a souvenir to Uggah as MaQtra group legal advisor Datuk Sebastian Ting (right) looks on. 

KUCHING, May 24: A Malaysia-China Joint Venture business group MaQtra International (M) Sdn Bhd (MaQtra) is interested to invest in the commercial production of Batang Ai tilapia fish through a collaboration with Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra).

Its group executive chairman, Tengku Ibrahim Petra, and his deputy, Zhang Rong Yang, earlier today paid a courtesy call on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at his office here to express their interest.

Tengku Ibrahim said the group, based in Dalian, China, is keen to venture into fish fillet processing and marketing.

He said they had conducted a study in the Batang Ai hydro dam lake and were very impressed with the quality of the tilapia there.

“Tilapia from other parts of the world cannot match its delicious taste. We brought along our technicians who testified that the breeding condition in the lake is very ideal,” he said, according to a statement from the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.

Uggah (fifth left), flanked by Tengku Ibrahim (to his right) and Zhang, in a photocall.

Tengku Ibrahim said MaQtra would bring its business partner, Dalian Huaqi, to provide the technology.

Its processing plant is located in Zhuanghe Harbor Industrial Park in the Liaoning Province, China.

Dalian Huaqi’s main products are frozen fish fillets, portions and blocks from Alaska Pollock, Pacific Hake, Redfish, Cod, Chum and Pink Salmon, he said.

“These are sold to South and North America, Europe and some Asia countries. Its daily processing capability is 12,000 tonnes, while its refrigerating capacity is 10,000 tonnes,” Tengku Ibrahim added.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said Sarawak had a lot of potential in aquaculture.

“Besides Batang Ai, we have the Bakun, Murum and soon the Balleh hydro dam lakes. We have many rivers as well,” he said.

Uggah added that like in the fruit sector, the government would like to have the anchor company concept in developing its aquaculture sector.

“In this concept, the anchor company will develop its supply chain, set up collecting centres and process the fish before exporting the finished products to its already established markets,” he said.

Uggah hoped to meet the MaQtra group again after the Hari Raya celebration with its plan on the proposal.

Meanwhile, Zhang later passed an invitation letter to Uggah to visit the Dalian Huaqi plant in China.

Present at the courtesy call were Salcra general manager Datuk Vasco Sabat and his deputy, Joseph Blandoi, and delegates from Dalian Huaqi. — DayakDaily