State govt eyeing Lawas airport, port to draw investors to northern Sarawak

Awang Tengah delivers his speech before the launching of the logo. — Photo credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit (UKAS).

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By Adrian Lim

LAWAS, March 9: The airport project here is back on track while feasibility studies for a port are being planned.

This is part of the state government’s efforts through Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) to build more infrastructure in Limbang and Lawas to attract domestic and foreign investors, revealed Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

“In the northern region here, we will be focusing on infrastructure development and construction of basic facilities.

“We will do feasibility studies to construct a port in Lawas.

“Previously, there was a project to construct Lawas Airport which was in principle about to take off.

“But, when the former Pakatan Harapan government took over, the Lawas Airport project disappeared from the radar.

“Therefore, the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) said we will use the allocation from NRDA (to build the Lawas Airport),” he disclosed during a dinner to launch the NRDA logo hosted by Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) at a hotel here last night.

Awang Tengah who is the NRDA chairman revealed that the agency has been allocated RM1.5 billion to be used for developing the northern region over two years.

Citing the development in Shenzhen, China as an example, Awang Tengah observed that the city has grown in the last three decades from a small town to a big city.

He noted that the Chinese government concentrated efforts on developing Shenzhen by building highways and basic infrastructure such as airports and ports to boost the local economy.

Similarly, Awang Tengah who is Second Minister of Urban Development and Resources said, Lawas and Limbang have much potential to contribute to Sarawak’s economic growth through various industries including agriculture, livestock, fishery and aquaculture.

He opined that for Sarawak’s economy to grow, the products that are manufactured in Sarawak must be export oriented.

Meanwhile, the Bukit Sari assemblyman also disclosed that Recoda has set up a few sub-committees to look into development in the northern region of Sarawak, including infrastructure and facilities, small and medium enterprise (SME), tourism, arts and culture, youth and sports, and education and training.

He added the state government is also looking to hire researchers for the oil and gas downstream industry in Lawas.

In the meantime, he shared, the state government is looking to draw up a masterplan for the development of the oil and gas industry especially the downstream petrochemical industry in Sarawak.

Awang Tengah also emphasised the state government wants inclusive development for the northern region and has engaged consultants to look into the relevant planning for the areas.

He stressed that the establishment of NRDA is to provide more concrentrated development for the said region.

Among those present at the dinner, were Recoda chief executive officer Datu Ismawi Ismuni, Lawas MP Datuk Henry Sum Agong, Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and other guests. — DayakDaily