Premier: Sarawak has potential to lure automakers like Toyota to set up assembly plants for hydrogen-powered vehicles

Abang Johari delighted to meet young Sarawakians at the Sarawak Agenda townhall session in Kuala Lumpur.

By Karen Bong and Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Oct 15: Sarawak, rich in renewable resources and now positioning itself as a hydrogen producer, could be a potential place to lure automakers like Toyota to set up assembly plants.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who had just returned to Malaysia from Japan today, shared this possibility following his meeting with the chief executive officer of Toyota at Toyota City in Japan yesterday (Oct 14).


“The Japanese carmaker has produced a hydrogen-powered car modelled on the Toyota Mirai. During our meeting, the CEO said if Sarawak has hydrogen, we may discuss further (on collaborations).

“There is potential to produce hydrogen-powered vehicles (in Sarawak) because there is a huge market in Southeast Asia, including China, India, East Asia, and Asean.

“While it is still too early for me to make the announcement, we (Sarawak and Japan) will maintain our communication because one day, they (automakers like Toyota) may need a place to build an assembly plant,” he said.

Abang Johari shared this with young Sarawakians during the Sarawak Agenda townhall session in conjunction with Lan Berambeh Anak Sarawak 2022 programme held at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) in Kuala Lumpur today.

He was responding to questions from students on the Sarawak government’s plan to create more opportunities for young Sarawakians and graduates to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, including the automotive industry.

Abang Johari emphasised that it is in the Sarawak government’s policy to encourage the production of products based on hydrogen as well as industries, businesses and sectors in the new economy that would create more opportunities for professionals and skilled people in STEM fields.

“We have a direction towards STEM in all levels of education. PCDS (Post-Covid Development Strategy) towards 2030 emphasises talent development, especially in STEM fields.

“This is because we are heading towards a new economy requiring experts and professionals in science, technology, and biochemistry, among others. I am confident our children will explore these fields,” he said.

For example, in the oil and gas sector, Abang Johari shared that Sarawak has the most or 62 per cent of the country’s reserve gas, which can become feedstocks for new products and not only liquified natural gas (LNG).

“That’s why we have developed the methanol industry, which also gives rise to other potentials such as the production of ammonia, methanol, fertilisers, composites and others.

“Now we are also exploring hydrogen and biofuel using algae. This means it will create more opportunities in the STEM fields,” he added.

Sarawak leaders, including Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Works Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Dato Sri Alexander Nanta Linggi, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar were among those present. — DayakDaily