Awg Tengah: Four RM2.28 billion-ICA projects approved as of June

FOUR Industrial Coordination Act 1975 (ICA) projects totalling RM2.28 billion (Electronic and Electrical Products, Basic Metal Products, Wood and Wood-based Products and Non Metallic Mineral Products) have been approved by the Sarawak Industrial Coordination Committee (ICC) as of June this year.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the projects would create 320 employment opportunities in Sarawak.

He added that the ICC had also approved eight ICC projects worth a total of RM75.75 million mainly in services, wood and wood-based products, HDPE products and furniture.

“Five projects worth RM65 million are still under consideration. These investments are expected to create 310 employment opportunities, he said in his winding-up speech yesterday.

Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, said to date, Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) had attracted total investment of RM33.64 billion, which does not include the proposed RM17 billion steel project and RM6 billion methanol project which are still at the evaluation stage.

He said to expedite the development of the central and northern regions, the government had expanded the area of SCORE and established three agencies under RECODA, namely, Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA) – to oversee the development of Upper Rajang region, encompassing Kapit and part of southern Bintulu; Highland Development Agency (HDA) – to oversee the development of Baram Highland area, including Bario, Mulu, Ba Kelalan, Meligan and part of Marudi District; and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) – to oversee the development of the northern region, encompassing Limbang Division.

He said consequently, the boundary of SCORE has now been enlarged from 7,070,900ha to 10,414,239ha to cover new areas in Miri and Limbang divisions.

He noted that SCORE initiative has brought about many positive socio-economic impacts.

“Apart from attracting huge investments particularly at Samalaju Industrial Park, SCORE has also opened up the hinterlands for development.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the federal government continues to provide sufficient funds for infrastructure development in the SCORE region,” he said.

Awang Tengah also said not all investments in Samalaju National Park (SIP) are owned by foreigners.

Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd is a Malaysian-owned company whereas OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Pertama Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and Malaysian Phosphate Additives (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd have Sarawak local equity participation.

“Therefore, it is incorrect to claim that SIP is only for foreign investors,” he said.

Awang Tengah said the SIP was established to attract energy-intensive industries where the technologies, expertise and know-how required are new to our country.

These industries act as trigger industries that have the potentials to create the respective clusters, thereby creating more business opportunities for the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“I am pleased to inform that the industries operating within the SIP are already engaging the local SMEs for transport and logistics, maintenance, consultancy services, construction works, supply and services.

“On average, the monthly operating expenditure of industries in SIP amounts to RM500 million, which is beneficial to the local economy.

“Consequently, the development of SIP has contributed to the accelerated growth of real estate in Bintulu,” he said.

Industries in SIP employ a total of 6,755 workers, whereby 3,690 or 54.6 per cent are Sarawakians, 100 or 1.5 per cent non-Sarawakians, and 2,965 or 43.9 per cent foreigners.

These foreign workers are engaged mainly in jobs where the working conditions are tough and not attractive to the locals.

The minister said the Sarawak government’s target was to achieve 70 per cent local workforce in SIP.