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SAMALAJU is a mighty heavy-duty engine powering and driving economic development and growth in Sarawak.
A major heavy and energy intensive industrial hub with two deep sea ports, it has three industrial zones – Tanjung Kidurong Industrial Zone, Samalaju Industrial Park and Kemena Industrial Zone.
They house mega industries including petrochemicals, oil refining, oil palm processing, aluminum smelting, steel manufacturing, biomass processing, wood-based manufacturing as well as other industrial and commercial activities, with investments worth over RM40 billion.
The massive development has increased Samalaju’s importance as a regional hub which draws in domestic and foreign investments, boosts revenue earnings, and creates job opportunities, adding value to industries, improving productivity and quality of life, and generally stimulating economic activities.
N70 Samalaju was created from a delineation exercise, a new seat in the 2016 State elections, with a population of about 100,000 people. Located between Bintulu and Miri, the area comes under the administration of the two divisions.
Dato Majang Renggi of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is the first assemblyman for this constituency after winning under Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak led by former Chief Minister the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem. He beat two challengers from Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (Pas) with a majority of 2,464 votes.
Given Samalaju’s importance in the oil and gas industry, it is apt Majang is representing the constituency’s interests in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) as he worked with Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) for 31 years before joining politics. Majang has also served as a political secretary to the late Adenan from February 2014 until June 2016.
The shape of things to come in Samalaju
A Sarawak-owned methanol plant costing RM3.74 billion is being developed at Tanjung Kidurong. Construction started in July last year and it is expected to be in operation by 2023.
Majang emphasised that once completed, the plant is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs, including 200 professional vacancies with priority of employment given to Sarawakians.
The project is one of the initiatives by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to increase the State’s participation in downstream petrochemical industries which is projected to become a major engine of growth for Sarawak in the next five to 10 years.
Apart from that, the Malaysia Phosphate Additives Plant located in Samalaju Industrial Park is also under construction.
Majang revealed that the Integrated Phosphate Complex Phase 1 Project involving domestic investment of RM898 million is expected to commence in 2022.
“The whole project has a total investment of RM2.2 billion and will be the first in Southeast Asia. It offers opportunities for industrial chemicals, animal feed, fertiliser, cleaning and detergent manufacturing sectors,” he said.
Another mega project that will go up in Samalaju Industrial park is the biggest steel manufacturing plant in the region costing RM13.8 billion.
“Site preparation works on 700 acres of land for Phase One of the Wenan Steel Plant is ongoing and expected to be done by April 2022 before construction starts, with commencement of operations targeted by the end of 2024,” he added.
When completed, this state-of-the-art facility would be one of the most advanced steel manufacturing plants in the region, employing more than 4,000 operation personnel and with a proposed production capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum.
Infrastructure for economic and social development
Th coastal road from Nyalau in Bintulu to Bakam in Miri, once completed, is expected to be a catalyst for the development of agriculture and aquaculture activities along the coastal areas, while at the same time facilitate the daily commute of employees in Suai, Niah and as far as Miri to their respective bases at Samalaju Industrial Park.
“The road project is in progress with packages covering all areas in Suai and is expected to be completed in 2022,” Majang emphasised.
He added, the upgrading of Ulu Suai road which started in 2020 and is expected to complete also 2022 will definitely be a boon for the many oil palm smallholders as they will be more easily be able to transport harvested fresh fruit bunches to palm oil mills or collection centres.
“The road is done using the cold-in-situ pavement recycling (CIPR) which is the first time such road technology is used in Sarawak,” he said.
Majang also highlighted the development of two new primary and secondary schools located at KM50 Jalan Bintulu-Miri with construction having already started for both projects.
SK Samalaju which is expected to be completed in 2022 will have 24 classrooms, 24 units of teachers’ quarters, a 200-bed capacity dormitory and other facilities.
“SMK Samalaju is scheduled for completion in 2023. It will have 36 classrooms, 24 units of teachers’ quarters, a 300-bed capacity dormitory as well as be equipped with various facilities,” he added.
The dilapidated SK Sg Tisang can look forward to the addition of a new four-storey building block to be used as classrooms and an administration building block, as well as an open hall and other facilities.
“Another significant project that I must mention and that has been completed in 2018 was the Samalaju Fire Station located on a 3.1-acre site in Samalaju Industrial Park.
“The new fire station is necessary and timely as firefighters are responsible to safeguard and protect resources and assets against fire and any calamities in this high-tech and heavy industrial hub with over RM40 billion worth of investment,” he pointed out.
Ensuring job opportunities, affordable housing
Majang stressed that if reelected, he will focus his attention over the next five years on facilitating industrial development and job opportunities for Sarawakians not only in the heavy and energy intensive industry sectors but also agriculture.
“I will do my best so that the local community can reap and enjoy the fruits of rapid development in the oil and gas sector at Tanjung Kidurong, the heavy and manufacturing industry at Samalaju Industrial Park as well as the plantation sector,” he said.
The agriculture sector, he noted, has big potential to improve the socio-economic well-being of the community in Samalaju.
“I want to enhance the agriculture and aquaculture sectors and hope to close the income gap between urban and rural people. This will be done by aggressively bringing in programmes in collaboration with relevant government agencies,” he added.
Majang also urged companies setting up their bases here to give job placement priority to local people with decent salaries based on experience and abilities.
The provision of affordable housing is another area which Majang wants to focus on, given the shortage of low and medium cost housing which has impacted the area currently seeing rapid industrialisation and economic growth.
“This is something which needs to be resolved as the population is and will continue to increase due to migration of people including foreign workers.
“I truly understand the hardship faced by the people who are without their own homes. As such, the focus will be on providing more affordable housing, Rumah Mesra Rakyat or resettlement areas for the people,” he added.
Telecommunication infrastructure, education and NCR land
It is pertinent for Samalaju to have access to a high-speed telecommunication network not only to support the heavy industries operating with advanced technology but also for education efforts that are increasingly going digital.
Majang said that a more comprehensive measure will be taken to ensure wholesome education for human capital development so that children in Samalaju can enhance their competitiveness in the job market as well as be able to meet the manpower needs of the various industries in Samalaju.
“I am committed to ensuring Samalaju constituency is connected with high-speed Internet or broadband access because our community is constantly moving, changing and getting vibrant.
“The collaboration with industry players in all sectors will be enhanced in order to realise the excellence and quality of education in Samalaju,” he added.
Majang also gave his assurance that the process to survey and determine Native Customary Rights (NCR) land in Samalaju constituency will be intensified.
“Serious actions will be taken to ensure that native people have ownership over their land,” he added.
Meanwhile, Majang is facing a five-cornered fight for the N70 Samalaju seat in the 12th Sarawak Election as he seeks a second term as its representative.
The incumbent is being challenges by Baba Emperan of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB), Tonny Ung of Democratic Action Party (DAP), Reggie Suel of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Leighton Manjah of Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK).
There are 17,981 registered voters in Samalaju constituency, out of which 440 are early voters. — DayakDaily