SIBU: Sibu Shipyard Association (SSA) must work closely with the government to ensure that all projects set to benefit the shipbuilding industry would be implemented successfully.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the government would always help as much as it could to improve the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industry.
He cited the allocation of RM10.7 million to improve the existing infrastructure at Rantau Panjang Industrial Estate, the approval of 250 acres of land for the extension of Rantau Panjang Shipbuilding Industrial Estate, and the approval of 150 acres for the development of Sibu Industrial Estate, as examples of government assistance.
“The government is in the process of land acquisition for the approved 250 acres of land. This will give the shipbuilders more space for shipbuilding and repairs activities,” he said in launching the upgrading project for Rantau Panjang Industrial Estate here yesterday.
Awang Tenga added that the state government had also designated land in Tanjong Manis and Paloh for the shipbuilding industry, as their deep waters would allow larger vessels as well as offshore platforms to be built there.
He said the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industry was establshed about 105 years ago with the establishment of Brooke Dockyard by the Rajah of Sarawak.
“Sibu started the business in the 1930s, and not only has the industry grown rapidly ever since, it turned Sarawak into a shipbuilding hub in Malaysia.
“Of the 100 shipyards in Malaysia, 60 can be found in Sarawak and out of the 60 shipyards, 40 are here. Sibu can rightly claim to be the heartland of the shipbuilding and ship-repair industry in Malaysia.”
Awang Tengah believed that the shipbuilding and ship-repair industry here would continue to play a vital role in the economic development of the state, and this town in particular.
“The handing-over of the King Islander 2 to Tasmanian Ports Corporation of Australia a few months ago shows that Sibu is capable of building quality vessels of international standard.
“Sibu is also capable of building offshore support vessels, bulkers, barges, tugboats as well as passenger boats and sell them to the Middle East, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Europe.”
He then advised the shipbuilding industry players to answer the call of the chief minister to embrace the latest technology towards achieving greater efficiency.
State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, Assistant Minister of Industries and Investment Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development permanent secretary Datu Liaw Soon Eng, Sibu Resident Charles Siaw, SSA chairman Ngieng Ping Sing, and Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) president Dr Gregory Hii were among those present.