CM wants proactive strategy, approach to state’s environmental efforts for sustainable devt

Abang Johari (centre) flanked by Justine on his right and other guests cutting a cake to mark NREB's 25th Anniversay celebration.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 5: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has called for a proactive environmental strategy and approach suited for Sarawak’s needs to better prepare the state for sustainable development.

“We have to be sensitive and aggressive in environmental and sustainability issues in making preparation as we develop our state because our neighbour Indonesia is already looking into this aspect in formulating their policies.

“I am told that they (Indonesia) have sourced advice from foreign countries in implementing their environment policy,” he said in his speech during Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB)’s 25th Anniversary dinner here last night (Dec 4).

Abang Johari emphasised that Sarawak can plan and implement its strategic approaches in environment management based on the Sarawak mould as Sarawakians know the needs of the state better.

“NREB, in the next 25 years, will play a very significant role in our development process to make sure that the state is properly developed with a good ecosystem as far as the environment is concerned.

“We have to look into the future. We want Sarawak to be clean with good air quality and efforts in recycling to turn waste into useful resources,” he added.

Following his visit to Mukah to launch the Sago Liquid Waste Treatment Plant recently, Abang Johari reiterated his call for researchers to conduct further research into the possibility of producing cooking gas from sago or ‘rumbia’ (a type of palm or sago plant) biomass.

“With the technology to treat and convert sago waste, the result is four by-products, namely biomass to generate electricity, clean water, gas for cooking and of course, clean environment.

“In this regard, I have asked them to further their research and if appropriate, it can be a prototype to produce cooking gas delivered through pipes for people in Kampung Teh (in Mukah where the Sago Liquid Waste Treatment Plant was set up),” he pointed out.

He also urged private stakeholders in other sectors and industries, especially palm oil plantation, to explore waste recycling methods.

“I am sure there are other waste which are useful, particularly palm oil, and I believe the private sector is looking into that in the plantation sector.

“Another aspect is animal feed in which the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) requested that Sarawak (and Sabah) be producer of animal feed (for the whole country),” he added.

According to news reports, Abang Johari accepted the request as Dr Mahathir wants Malaysia to reduce its reliance on imported animal feed, worth RM60 billion a year.

Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and Controller of Environment Quality Sarawak Justine Jok Jau Emang were also present. — DayakDaily