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KUCHING, Dec 24: Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) will soon be tasked with the managing of the domestic gas business in Sarawak which is now under Petronas.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg broke the good news in his Christmas Message 2019.
“In order to have the regulatory power over our oil and gas resources based on our authority under the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, Petros have been set up to be our flagship in furthering the state’s participation in the upstream and upstream activities of the oil and gas industry in the state.
“Very soon as part of its growth, Petros will be tasked with the managing of the domestic gas business in the state that is now under Petronas.
“The next few years will see more involvement of Petros as more investments are expected in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries in the state,” he said.
Apart from Petros and since the year is coming to a close, Abang Johari also took the opportunity to list out some of the achievements of the Sarawak government.
The state, he emphasised has invested heavily in upgrading to harness the state’s potential in building a Sarawak which is strong economically.
He noted that by being merely rich in resources, it would not make Sarawak rich unless there is a well-structured plan to ensure that these resources are used optimally and sustainably to build the economy.
“We have oil and gas, land and water and the forest, and coupled with human capital and a well-thought out plan we have all it needs to be a developed state by the year 2030.”
Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak started charting its economic enhancement initiative when the state took over the Bakun hydro dam in 2017 with a very reasonable price of RM2.5 billion from the federal government.
“We are now in complete control of our power resources and this allows us to better manage our power generation to power the energy-intensive industries, especially in the Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu,” he said.
This was followed by the formation of the Development Bank of Sarawak or DBOS that has given Sarawak the flexibility to fund strategic projects without having to borrow from outside sources.
“Our normal yearly budget is not quite sufficient to fund extensive infrastructure development to increase road connectivity, especially in the interior areas of the state and DBOS have allowed us to source for funds internally,” he continued.
The Sarawak government then embarked on the extensive plan of strengthening the basic infrastructure with the belief that “good connectivity is a pre-requisite to a strong economy” where it launched a number of large bridge projects across major rivers.
Sarawak’s agricultural transformation programme, Abang Johari highlighted also hinges on good infrastructure especially in the hinterland of the Regional Corridor of Renewable Energy (Recoda) and the northern part of the state.
To be more focused, these hinterland areas have been segmented into three development areas under the Upper Rejang Development Agency (URDA), the Highland Development Agency (HDA) and the Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) where a total of RM4.5 billion has been allocated for infrastructure development.
Under the new revenue streams or revenue re-engineering, the Sarawak government has come out with a few new initiatives such as charging five percent Sales Tax on oil and gas products, aluminium tax and water tax.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak government has also launched a few welfare initiatives that would directly benefit the people.
These included subsidising RM5,000 for first RM5,000 electricity connection charge; subsidising first RM5 water bill which will benefit 600,000 households; RM1,000 for every newborn; and RM450 for new mothers.
“With all the various initiatives in place, we can look forward to 2020 with full of optimism. We are fully aware of the fact that we should always be mindful of the three important aspects of managing an economy namely, savings, consumption and investment in order for the state’s economy to be healthy and robust,” he said.
Abang Johari gave assurance that the government will continue to take steps to ensure investment, consumption and domestic savings continues to be strong so that Sarawak can sustain its growth and provide the right ecosystem to upgrade the living standard of its people.— DayakDaily