Five Corridors: Gateway to prosperity
by Chai Li Tiing, email@example.com. Posted on June 24, 2012, Sunday
Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)
Unlike the other corridors, SCORE is quite different in terms of emphasis, focus, niche and the rationale by which it works. The core of the corridor is the energy resources, particularly its 28,000 megawatts of hydropower, 1.46 billion tonnes of coal and 40.9 trillion square cubic feet of natural gas in the central region.
This was believed to be able to help the land of the hornbill price its energy competitively and encourage investments in power generation and energy-intensive industries that would act as triggers for the development of a vibrant industrial corridor.
According to Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, CEO of Regional Economic Development Authority (Recoda), “We have always conducted studies on the hydro potential of the state covering the geographical relief structures, the vast water bodies, rivers and valleys that we have.
“Until the corridor concept came along, we never went deeper into it. However, we are now very focused on our energy potential because hydro and our coal deposits can generate in the region of 28,000 megawatts of energy.”
The CEO also pointed out that Recoda had carried out studies to determine which industries would be most suitable for using SCORE’s energy production.
Initially, it identified up to 70 industries and 10 ‘trigger industries’. “Some of the big ones are the aluminium smelters, the manganese producers, steel players and a few others.”
Wilson also revealed that the corridor authority identified several growth nodes (Samalaju, Bintulu, Mukah and Tanjung Manis) for big energy industries as Samalaju and Bintulu had always been identified as growth areas, dating back to the days before the implementation of SCORE.
On the growth node town of Tanjung Manis, Wilson noted that it was developed initially to as the port, water facilities, shipbuilding and marine engineering that were all located there. However it had since became the centre of SCORE’s halal focus.
Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud also commented previously that,“Tanjung Manis Halal Hub offers investors tremendous potential and opportunity to capture the increasing demand for halal products from both Muslim and non-Muslim markets globally.”
He believed that its fast track approval for halal certification and endorsement would allow the smooth establishment of operations and reduce waiting period.
A previous study on investment possibilities in the SCORE region had resulted in a figure of RM330 billion worth of investments, with 80 per cent sourced from the private sector and 20 per cent from the public sector.
On possible challenges that he saw over the horizon, Wilson noted that, “One thing that is a natural concern in all this talk of development is whether it is fiscally sustainable on a governmental level.
“It is very good to put in place big infrastructure projects and use lots of governmental funds, but is it sustainable? Infrastructure is a lot of investment for a long-term return.”
The Recoda CEO also reasoned that the country had to be careful about how spending was targeted, especially in current times when the Western world was struggling with debts crises.
“When we are undertaking these activities, we are working within a global scene where what is happening outside will impact us, either drastically or marginally. We need to be mindful of the enormity of the external markets.”