MIRI: Datuk Sebastian Ting has identified five factors that have contributed to the success of Miri as a flourishing city.
These factors are oil and gas industry, timber, oil palm plantation, visitors from Brunei and the Curtin University.
“By and large the success of Miri as a booming city now is due to these factors,” Ting told the Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) at a leading hotel here yesterday.
Ting, who is the political secretary to the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Peter Chin explained further that though Miri has been well-known for its oil and gas industry in the last 100 year, the other four factors have also been important to its drastic growth.
“No doubt the timber industry has very been significant to the economic growth of this city and today the oil palm industry is also very crucial,” he said.
Ting, a lawyer by profession has been with Chin since they both worked together for the same law firm way back in 1984.
“And as far as the oil palm industry is concerned Datuk Peter Chin has contributed a lot for the people in Miri in particular and Sarawak as a whole. This is especially true when he was the Minister of Plantations Industries from 2004 to 2009 when he personally assisted some 5,500 smallholders throughout the state to develop their NCR land,” said Ting.
He disclosed that Chin had allocated some RM10 million from his ministry then to develop a tripartite arrangement between the NCR landowners, millers and fertiliser suppliers.
“Because of that arrangement, millers guaranteed payment to the fertiliser suppliers and the growers who in return guaranteed their palm oil fresh fruit bunches (FFB) for the millers,” he explained.
Ting added that since then some 4,500 smallholders in Miri alone have benefited from the industry.
Another factor for the economic growth of Miri are the visitors from Brunei who would come in droves every weekend to shop here.
“There is a saying here that if they bring $1,000 Brunei to spend, they will still be able to bring back RM1,000. Miri is just like Johor to Singapore,” he cited.
Ting also revealed that since the establishment of the Curtin University campus here, there has been a steady growth of foreign students pursuing their tertiary education here.
Currently, he said there are some 5,000 students in the university including some 3,000 from foreign countries.
“The rough estimation for the foreign exchange brought in to Miri by these students is some RM480 million annually. That is minus the amount of contribution by the local students and their lecturers to the local economy,” added Ting. Curtin University here commenced its operations in February 1999.
In 2002, the new campus was built.