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SIBU, Nov 21: The state’s shipbuilding and ship repairs industry has been assured of continuous support from the state government.
Speaking during the launching ceremony of ‘Book of Sarawak 2020 for Shipbuilding, Ship Repairs, Maritime Industries, Ship Design’, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the maritime industry is among the key pillars of growth of Sarawak’s increasingly vibrant economy and will be an important component of the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) which aims to achieve economic prosperity, social inclusivity, and environmental sustainability.
“Based on statistics, the industry has generated export revenue valued at RM279 million in 2018, RM349 million in 2019, and RM260 million in 2020 despite the lockdowns and travel restrictions.
“This is a testament to the high quality and technical capabilities of our local shipbuilders,” he said.
The Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources cum Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal, and Entrepreneur Development said over the years, the shipbuilding industry has played a very important role in the development of Sarawak because of the many big rivers and tributaries as well as the long coastlines covering the state.
Coastal and riverine vessels were the main modes of transportation in the early days by carrying people, goods, and timber logs. In later years, the industry grew more sophisticated to produce vessels for the offshore oil and gas activities in the state, he added.
In recognising the importance of the industry, he said the state government has taken steps to improve infrastructure facilities for the industry.
“My ministry has completed the Rantau Panjang Phase 1 upgrading works costing RM11.7 million which has certainly made Rantau Panjang more attractive with better infrastructure.
“Upon the request of Sibu Shipyard Association, the ministry is now undertaking the expansion of Rantau Panjang Phase 2 (21 acres) and expects to complete the extension works by the end of 2022,” said Awang Tengah.
In addition to that, earthworks on the 150-acre Sibu Industrial Park is ongoing and the project is expected to complete by the end of 2024 with all the necessary infrastructure.
The park, he emphasised, will cater to the demand of the local SMEs for the general industries. The park will be expanded if there is more demand from the business communities.
He added that the government also wants to rejuvenate the economy in the central region by leveraging on the deep seawater industry at Paloh.
“Under 12th Malaysia Plan, the government has plans to develop the Tanjung Manis Marine Engineering Park at Paloh covering an area of 1,000 acres. Paloh will provide better opportunities for the local shipbuilders to become big players in shipbuilding, ship repairs as well as for the oil and gas industry,” he said.
His ministry will work hard to attract suitable big investors to come to Paloh which will certainly benefit the Sibu region.
He also commended the Sarawak Association of Maritime Industries (SAMIN), Sibu Shipyard Association, business communities, and everyone involved for working together with the government on the industrial vaccination centre programme (PPVIN) that enabled Sarawak to achieve high vaccination rate within a short period, despite the challenges faced.
SAMIN president Dr Renco Yong extended the association’s appreciation to the state government, especially the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal, and Entrepreneur Development for their support towards the maritime industry.
“The support and the close collaboration between the government ministries, departments, and agencies and industry players have helped the industry to grow and develop.
“SAMIN wholeheartedly believes that with stronger cooperation between government agencies and departments and industry players, the industry can soar towards greater heights,” he said.
Yong said Sibu is renowned for its shipbuilding and ship repairs industry with 60 shipyards based here.
“Sibu is also the home port to many companies providing a wide range of support services to the industry. These include those involved in shipping, port operations, shipbuilding and ship repair, ship design, and many others.
“Together, they make up the ecosystem of the maritime industry and work closely together to facilitate seaborne cargo transport, passenger transport, offshore oil and gas exploration and activities, marine tourism, fisheries, maritime patrol and enforcement by security agencies, port operations among others. It is therefore appropriate that Sibu plays host to this momentous event,” he added.
The book, published by SAMIN and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), aims to provide the latest information on the categories of shipbuilding and ship repair, as well as the supporting industries in Sarawak.
The findings of this research will provide strategic inputs for the industry and government to develop and strengthen the maritime industry.
The book contains useful statistics and interesting articles written by members of SAMIN that document the various stages of the development of the state’s maritime industry.
This book costs RM50 and can be purchased through Shopee, Lazada, and PLUX. — DayakDaily