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KUCHING, 19 Oct: Sarawak emerged as the third largest recipient with RM47.6 billion approved investments by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in the manufacturing sector from 2011 to 2016.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the investments were mainly concentrated in basic metal products, chemicals and chemical products and natural gas industries.
“The East Malaysian states are rich with resources. Both Sabah and Sarawak have great potential to become the premier biomass processing hubs in the country, given their strategic locations, highly-skilled human capital and supporting infrastructure,” Ahmad said at the International Biomass Conference Malaysia 2017 event today.
These industries collectively constitute about 87 per cent of total investment approved for the state during the period.
In the same period, MIDA has also approved a total of 4,661 manufacturing projects throughout Malaysia with investments of RM354.4 billion.
Meanwhile, for a period 2011 to 2016, MIDA has approved a total of 226 biomass projects in Malaysia with investments worth RM2.92 billion.
Major recipients of these approved biomass investments were Johor (RM733 million), Selangor (RM571 million) and Sabah (RM472 million). While the state of Sarawak was ranked at the ninth position with 20 approved biomass projects valued at RM93 million.
“Over the past few years, the biomass industry has been regarded as one of the main pillars for a sustainable bio-economy, adding that Malaysia has gained international recognition as one of the preferred destinations for the industry,” Maslan said.
Many countries including Japan, South Korea, China and European nations have also expressed interest to collaborate with Malaysian companies in biomass activities.
However, he admitted that the biomass sector has not been progressing as fast as it should be because of issues and challenges such as the depressed global economy, fluctuation of oil and gas prices, complexities in the supply chain, and maturity of technologies.
Although the nation’s biomass sector will take time to achieve the right formulation for market competitiveness, Ahmad said Malaysia is on the right track in accelerating its renewable energy agenda.
“The National Biomass Strategy 2020 was formulated not only to promote more investments in the sector, but to develop a sustainable ecosystem that is inclusive, with global competitiveness, export market potential and diversified end use.”
He urged more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to explore business opportunities in the biomass sector, adding that the industry is not exclusive to big companies. — DayakDaily