Data centre by 2020

(The Star) #1

KUCHING: The Sarawak Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Ministry plans to set up a data centre at the Sama Jaya High Tech Park here.

Its permanent secretary Datuk Liaw Soon Eng said they are hoping to get a few companies to set up plants there.

The high tech park is home to semi-conductor and solar panel manufacturing plants from Japan, United States, Europe and China.

The state government is in the process of setting up a proposed digital village to cater to hi-tech industries at the park.

The digital village project, which is expected to be operational by early 2020, is part of the state’s RM1bil allocation to fund its digital infrastructure and digital economy initiatives.

Liaw said the multinational corporations operating in the high tech park paid out salaries totalling RM380mil to some 10,800 employees, 99% of whom are Sarawakians, last year.

“These companies provide a lot of business opportunities to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), like logistics, food and other supplies,” he added during a paper presentation on “Let’s invest in Sarawak: The opportunities and potentials” at the recent Sarawak-China Business Forum.

Liaw said the high tech park’s latest investor, South Korea’s Iljin Materials Co Ltd, would produce copper foils used in batteries for smartphones and electric vehicles when its plant is ready soon.

He said the company, which is to invest some RM2.2bil in the project, had also planned for an expansion under the second phase.

According to the ministry’s figures, companies in the high-tech park exported finished products worth a total RM3.2bil last year, up from RM2.7bil in 2016, and this is expected to increase to RM4.5bil this year.

Liaw said Sarawak offered various incentives to investors to set up manufacturing facilities, and these include pioneer status, investment tax allowance and re-investment allowance.

As one of the top three investment destinations in Malaysia, he said Sarawak offered huge advantage to manufacturing companies in electricity tariffs as 75% of the state’s power is generated from hydro as compared to peninsula Malaysia and Sabah which mostly used gas to generate electricity.

Sarawak has leveraged on the competitive and renewable hydro power in attracting energy-intensive industries like aluminium and ferrosilicon and manganese smelting plants, in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu.

These industries draw their power from Bakun hydro dam and Murum dam. Another major dam – Baleh – is under construction for scheduled commissioning by 2025.

Liaw said the Sarawak shipbuilding industry was fast growing, adding that there were now some 40 shipyards capable of constructing various vessels for export to Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Most of the shipyards are based in the Rantau Panjang Shipbuilding Industrial Zone, Sibu. There are also shipyards in Miri and Bintulu.