BINTULU: An enabling and conducive environment is paramount for people, businesses and industries to thrive and flourish at Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP).
SIP, located 60km northeast of Bintulu by road and covering a 7,000-hectare area, is Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy’s (SCORE) biggest success story to date.
The largest single industrial park in Malaysia is dedicated to energy-intensive heavy industries, hosting companies engaged in aluminium smelting, steel and oil refining, as well as silica-based industries, marine engineering and a wide range of industrial and commercial activities.
Today, 10 companies have established their operations in SIP with a 10,000-strong workforce population.
During The Borneo Post Adventure Team (BAT) 7 field trip to SIP yesterday, there was no doubt that the park plays a vital role in cultivating and spurring economic growth and development to create real opportunities for Sarawak, her people and businesses.
As observed, more needs to be done to improve the current environment because the scale of SIP, as has been highlighted previously, is a sign of the ambitions of Sarawak for it will have an impact on the economic landscape of the state.
Samalaju assemblyman Majang Renggi, however, emphasised the need to accelerate development especially in infrastructure, amenities and a new township in SIP to meet the demand of investors and encourage migration.
“At this juncture, there is an urgent need for more power supply as there are many major players showing their interest to invest here. Sufficient power is crucial to attract more investors,” Majang told BAT 7 at his service centre here after showing the team the entire SIP.
The first-term assemblyman revealed that at least two major investors, namely Hebei Xinwuan Steel Group and Malaysia Phosphate Additive, have shown keen interest in setting up plants at SIP.
According to Majang, the Chinese steelmaker planned to invest USD3 billion or RM13 billion here in steel manufacturing.
“But there isn’t even power to supply to their needs at present. Press Metal alone is consuming 1,000 MW of electricity per day in their operation. As such, the industry players here need more power than we can supply,” he said.
However, he revealed that Sarawak Energy Berhad is planning to build a combined cycle gas turbine plant at Tanjong Kidurong with a capacity of 450 MW and another plant at Samalaju with the capacity of 1,200 MW.
On top of that, there is also an urgency in providing security to the vast amount of investment at SIP.
“SIP currently has a total investment of more than RM30 billion and RM150 billion worth of asset value. But at the moment, there are only three police personnel from Bintulu and seven General Operations Force (GOF) personnel. The force is far from adequate,” he added.
Majang thus hopes that the government will expedite the construction of a police station as well as a GOF camp at SIP to monitor the high value assets as well as the current and future workforce community there.
“Other urgent things that need to be put in place include extra water supply, a fire station, a health clinic, a new township, education facilities like a kindergarten, management of scheduled waste, and housing to encourage and cater to the migration of people,” he pointed out.
“The existing and future industries to come will provide jobs and employment to people. And naturally, providing a holistic environment for people to live in must be of priority. Now, there is not even a commercial centre or area in SIP for people to shop, eat and drink,” he said.
Nevertheless, Majang, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice-president, was optimistic that SIP will be fully developed by 2030.
On another note, he hoped the major companies operating in SIP can expedite employing the locals in this constituency so they could benefit from this development.
“But, I am thankful to the major investors for contributing to the communities here through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) such as assisting in rebuilding facilities at dilapidated schools like the hostel of SK Sebatu, Suai,” he added.
BAT 7 indeed has been very blessed with the journey so far where we have met up with people who are willing to talk and share their aspirations in developing their respective area.
In fact, while interviewing Majang at his service centre, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau invited the team to visit his area, especially Long Lama, before the end of this road trip.
BAT, since its inception in 2010, has been promoting Sarawak to the outside world.
With this journey, we would like to thank the people whom we have met and who have been cooperative and resourceful to provide valuable information that has enabled us to fill our pages since the start of this road trip on June 5.
We hope that the state government will be able to come up with concrete solutions to the needs of the people on the ground because time is of the essence.