Monday, January 24

Japanese investors unlikely to pull out — Dr Chan

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KUCHING: Japanese investors, particularly electronic multinationals, are not pulling out from Sarawak following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This assurance came from Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan yesterday.

These calamities which struck Japan last Friday would have no immediate effect on the four major Japanese industries in Sarawak, he pointed out.

“These are big companies, I do not think they will be much affected by this sort of temporary setback,” Dr Chan said of the Japanese investors who had set up their plants, especially at the Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone.

Dr Chan who is also Minister of Industrial Development believes Japan is resilient enough to withstand natural disasters, and that Japanese investors intending to venture in Tanjung Manis will not withdraw.

Instead, he believes more Japanese investors will consider setting up business in Sarawak which is free from natural disasters, especially the electronic industry which is vulnerable to earth movements.

“We are fortunate here as we have no earthquakes or typhoons. Our environment and weather is very stable. The most we experience are flash floods,” he said.

Dr Chan also refuted a radioactive scare in an SMS circulating among the public that the occasional rain in Sarawak would bring contaminants from the radiation leakage of nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan. Since the Japanese government admitted the leakage last Sunday, some Kuching citizens were getting texts advising them to take precautions.

The full text of the message is as followed: BBC Flashnews: “Japan government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants. Asian countries must take precautions. Remain indoors first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab skin with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid area first. Wear long clothes, neck also. Radiation may hit the Philippines starting 4pm today. Remain indoors for the next 24 hours. Please send to your loved one.”

It also advised readers not to go under the rain in the next few days as the radioactive particles might cause burns, alopecia or even cancer.

“Do not believe these SMS as they are from unreliable sources with no truth and basis to their claims,” Dr Chan said, adding irresponsible people were frightening people by making false reports.

He assured that the Sarawak Meteorological Department was monitoring the situation and would report any change or threat.

“With the present information system, we can reach and inform the people as soon as possible,” said Dr Chan.

Regarding the impoundment of Bibles by the Home Ministry, he said there was no reason the holy book could not be distributed in Sarawak.

“They should be allowed in, Sarawak never has any problem,” Dr Chan said of the 30,000 copies of the Bibles worth RM78,000 in Bahasa Malaysia.

“I have no doubt the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najb Tun Razak) will do the right thing as soon as possible,” he said.