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‘State still drawing foreign investors’

‘State still drawing foreign investors’

04 Jan 2021

Sarawak remains an attractive investment destination as it continues to draw interest despite the movement restrictions and economic slowdown due to Covid-19.

The investors are from South Korea, Australia and China, among others.

Speaking at the committee installation ceremony for Sarawak Association of Maritime Industries (Samin) in Sibu, International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said although foreign investments were important for Sarawak’s development, the state would also like its domestic industries to benefit and was putting in place a more inclusive development strategy going forward.

“For Sarawak to be competitive globally, our industry players must keep themselves abreast of the latest technology and be creative and innovative. Adoption of Industry 4.0 is the way forward.

“We cannot continue with low-cost and labour-intensive industries, especially during the pandemic when labour shortage is an issue, ” he added.

For the first nine months of this year, Sarawak ranked first in terms of investment value in Malaysia in the manufacturing sector, with a total approved investment of RM15.8bil.

“With the help of my ministry and Mida, a group of executives from South Korea came to Sarawak recently and underwent the mandatory 14-day quarantine before conducting their assessment of Sarawak, ” said Awang Tengah.

On the maritime industry, he said it had made a sizeable contribution to the state’s economy with exports valued at RM279mil in 2018, RM349mil in 2019 and RM168mil last year up to October.

He said that as the industry would continue to play an important role in the state’s economic development – especially in Sibu – his ministry would continue to provide the necessary support so that the industry could continue to grow.

Awang Tengah said with the completion of the Rantau Panjang Industrial Estate Phase I upgrading work costing RM11.7mil, his ministry was now undertaking the development of additional 8.4ha in Phase II.

“Earthworks will commence soon, and we expect to complete the extension works by end of 2022.

“This extension work is upon the request of Sibu Shipyards Association.

“My ministry also plans to develop Tanjung Manis Marine Engi-neering Park in Paloh covering an area of 400ha under RMK-12, as the location is suitable for bigger vessels.

“Paloh will provide better opportunities for companies to become big players in shipbuilding, ship repairs and the oil and gas industry, ” he added.

Meanwhile, earthworks for Sibu Industrial Park covering an area of 60ha have commenced.

This industrial park caters to local small and medium enterprises.

Awang Tengah, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, said the project was delayed due to the MCO and the recent bad weather but assured that the park was expected to be completed by end of 2023.

He noted that there were around 100 shipyards nationwide currently and 60 of them were located in Sarawak.

“Of the shipyards in the state, 40 are operating in Sibu specialising in building and repairing small to medium-sized vessels such as tugboats, offshore support vessels, barges and passenger boats.

“Sibu certainly has the potential to be the centre for Malaysia’s maritime industry, ” he added.

At the installation ceremony, Awang Tengah urged Samin to work closely with his ministry to come up with proposals on global movement restrictions for the consideration of the State Disaster Management Committee in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Samin, formed on Oct 25,2018, has members representing a broad cross-section of the industry comprising shipbuilding, ship repairs, marine maintenance, engine repair and overhaul, naval architects,

maritime consultants and academia, marine product manufacturers and the supporting industries.

Samin’s new president Renco Yong outlined three future plans.

They include publishing a book on Sarawak’s shipbuilding, ship repairs, maritime industries and ship design, publishing a “facilities map” for the state’s maritime industries, and collaborating with Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation to further study the establishment of 800ha land as a maritime industrial area with a special economic zone that provides special tax incentives.

Source: The Star