By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, May 8: Sarawak managed to attract RM8.8 billion in total investment last year, recording third highest performance in the country after Johor and Selangor.
Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said RM8.6 billion of the investment was categorised under the Industrial Coordination Act 1975 (ICA) and RM189 million under the State Industrial Co-ordination Committee (ICC).
These investments are expected to create 1,840 employment opportunities, he added. Johor and Selangor recorded RM30.5 billion and RM18.9 billion respectively for 2018.
“The 11 approved investments under ICA were mainly in the following sectors; petroleum-related products at RM5.7 billion (methanol), basic metal products at RM2.8 billion (electro-deposited copper foil and metallic silicon) and non-metallic mineral products at RM44.5 million (Industrialised Building System components and pre-mixed bitumen).
“The 26 approved projects under ICC were mainly in food manufacturing (seafood processing), services (logistics and warehousing), wood-based (veneer, furniture, plywood) and basic metal products (fabrication of steel and other metals),” the deputy chief minister said in his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting here today.
On Sarawak’s performance in the first four months of this year, Awang Tengah said the state supported a total of five projects worth RM17.05 billion for Manufacturing Licences under ICA (high-grade steel, cement and chemical products, and food manufacturing).
For the same period, nine projects have been approved under ICC totalling RM27.4 million in non-metallic mineral products (batching plant), services (logistics and warehousing), plastic, basic metal and wood-based products (plywood door and sawn timber).
These investments are expected to generate about 8,760 employment opportunities in the state.
He told the august House that his ministry would continue with efforts to diversify the state’s industrial landscape through strengthening and expanding the industries in oil and gas, energy intensive, high-tech, food, shipbuilding alongside the traditional timber based, oil palm based and other manufacturing activities.
For sustainable economic growth, the state shall move away from low tech, low wage and labour-intensive model.
“We shall encourage investments in industries that employ the latest modern technology to help us move up the value chain in the global economy, create highly skilled workforce through technology transfer, create supporting clusters and downstream industries that benefit the local business community, especially the SMEs, and promote sustainability, green and environmentally friendly technology,” he said.
Awang Tengah added that in this respect, Sarawak had been quite successful in attracting these types of investments, such as those in Samalaju and Sama Jaya.
On a related note, he said the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), since its inception in 2008, had attracted investments totalling RM39.94 billion.
Samalaju Industrial Park has been promoted for the energy-intensive and petrochemical industries. To date, it has attracted a total of RM28.43 billion worth of investments from local and foreign multinational corporations from South Korea, China, Singapore, Japan, South Africa and Taiwan, producing polycrystalline silicon, aluminium ingots and ferroalloys.
Currently, eight companies in Samajaya Industrial Park are in operation, creating 7,670 employment opportunities, with 61 per cent local workforce. Last year, export value from the park amounted to RM8.055 billion.
Awang Tengah said Sama Jaya High Tech Park was promoted as a hub for the high tech sector in Sarawak, where it is the regional base for multinational corporations from Germany, United States, Japan, South Korea and China.
Sama Jaya has increased its workforce to 12,200, where 98.5 per cent are locals. Companies in Sama Jaya are generating about RM215 million of economic spinoffs to the local economy every month, he continued.
Awang Tengah said the repositioning of Tanjung Manis as Tanjung Manis Economic Growth Area (T-MEGA) marks a new milestone in the development of the region.
T-MEGA provides investment opportunities in timber processing, Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC), shipbuilding industry, deep-sea fishery industry, agro-based and halal-related industry.
“To date, T-MEGA has attracted a total investment of RM4.02 billion in both FDI and DDI. Out of this, RM1.1 billion have been realised. In 2018, Tanjung Manis Port handled RM13.2 billion worth of import and export cargoes.
“Since the establishment of Tanjung Manis in 1990, the government has invested about RM3.145 billion for infrastructure development such as port, airport, telecommunication, electricity, water, wharf and housing.” — DayakDaily