MIRI: The engineering services sector here is feeling the pinch of the drastic drop in crude oil prices, which is yet to recover.
Hence, engineers especially the young ones should be more far-sighted in making the best out of the current situation, said Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) Miri chairman Paul Chew Lik Ing.
He highlighted renewable energy sources such as bio-fuel and bio-gas could be the next viable alternative amidst present circumstance, and engineers should seek pockets of opportunities in this segment.
“Ironically, the brutal reality and real challenge to the local economy lie in the apparent erosion of Miri as an oil hub.
“We have witnessed the migration of our own oil and gas engineers to places like Kuala Lumpur or Bintulu and for now, they seem to be moving to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah,” he told a crowd of 600 attending a dinner at a hotel here on Saturday, held in conjunction with the IEM Miri’s annual general meeting (AGM).
The guests-of-honour was Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin and Miri mayor Lawrence Lai. The event also introduced the local chapter’s newly-elected committee members and those of IEM Young Engineers Section (YES).
On the potential of sustainable energy sources as an alternative to oil and gas, Chew said this was clearly demonstrated during a technical visit to Bakun Hydroelectricity Dam and BBC Palm Oil Mill and Biogas Plant near Samalaju at the end of last year.
“Apart from being a viable alternative, the sustainable energy sources which are already well-developed locally, could be a new opportunity for local engineers.
“We have produced so much hydroelectricity that it is a strategic driver for the state’s industrialisation via the development of energy-intensive industries within SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), particularly in Samalaju. Similarly, the BBC biogas plant is another fine example of a pioneering sustainable engineering field for IEM members. It is of particular interest because through the system, effluent from palm oil processing — instead of being a potential environmental hazard — is being converted into productive renewable energy.”
As such, Chew said amidst the current ‘economic gloom’, there was still hope.
“I believe that the present (economic) situation is a short-term setback and as such, I urge our young engineers to keep their head held high in facing the challenges,” he said.