Monday, April 22

CM: State’s oil and gas to finance mega projects

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KUCHING: Sarawak will look to its oil and gas (O&G) sector to finance the mega projects that it has planned for the people.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state needed huge funds to implement the projects such as the light rail transit (LRT), water grid, coastal roads and bridges, which would benefit Sarawakians.

He said to source for funds, Sarawak would exert its mining rights in accordance with the list under the Federal Constitution.

“We are exerting our constitutional rights over our oil and gas. The oil and gas industry is the industry of the people of Sarawak.

“We have the law and we will use the power under that law. There is no need to ask for 20 per cent. We will get more than 20 per cent because we have the constitutional right,” he said at the ‘Sejiwa Senada’ programme at Batu Kawah New Township here yesterday.

Abang Johari said Petroleum Sarawak (Petros) would be a partner to Petronas, adding that if the latter could do it, so could Petros.

He noted that Sarawak would not have to ask for percentage because what Sarawak wanted would be to take part in the oil and gas industry.

He said the fund that the state earned from its participation in the oil and gas industry would be used to implement what had been promised to the people.

“We have taken extra equity from LNG Tiga. Before, we only have 10 per cent – today, we have 25 per cent equity in LNG Tiga; meaning, we have extra income from our LNG Tiga dividend.

“Our dividend from the LNG Tiga will be about RM2 billion a year. And in October there is something that I will implement, which will also bring revenue to Sarawak,” he said.

On other matters, Abang Johari reiterated that the LRT would be the best public transport that the government could provide to the residents of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian – all having a combined population of about one million.

He said LRT would help resolve the traffic problems faced by the commuters across these three divisions these days.

“Some people say I am hot air when I want to provide the LRT. The White Rajah built a railway in Kuching before; that is why there is Jalan Keretapi. If the White Rajah could do it before, why can’t we?

“We want to do LRT for our people in Kuching city. I say I will do the LRT in eight years with a cost of RM11 billion – they said I was ‘hot air’ asking where I would get the funds to implement the project.

“They said we would use up our state reserves, our reserves would be depleting. But I can tell you, I will get extra funds for Sarawak and give back to the ‘rakyat’ (people),” he said, arguing that if other states could build their own LRTs, so could Sarawak.

He added that the state government would also develop a smart city here, whereby people could just click and see all information about the traffic condition in the city.

He said upon full implementation, the authorities would be able to control the traffic within the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Padawan Muncipal Council (MPP) areas.

“We will integrate the information – what we call ‘smart data’. This ‘data’, when retrieved, will enable us to see the movements of the people in the city, traffic jams, block drains – all can be seen in the central data information.

“This is a new way for us to develop towards creating a better future. We have to look to the future because we want to achieve a developed state status by 2030,” said Abang Johari.