Friday, June 5

CM: Relying on oil, LNG exports not sustainable


Awang Tengah (front, fifth from right) in a photo call with Yeoh (fourth right), Abang Abdul Karim (third right), the organising committee, speakers and participants. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Sarawak needs to venture into value-adding downstream activities as depending on the export of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not sustainable in the long run, says Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The chief minister said while Sarawak holds 54 per cent of the country’s natural gas reserves and 29 per cent of the national oil reserves, most of these natural resources are exported instead of being retained as feedstock.

“For that reason, I have recently announced that for any new finding of gas resources in Sarawak, 40 to 50 per cent must be retained as feedstock for value-adding downstream activities in the state.

“I am optimistic that this new policy will enable Sarawak to become a regional petrochemical hub,” he said in his keynote address which was delivered during the 2019 Sarawak Investment and Business Summit organised by Kingsley Strategic Institute here, yesterday.

The text of his keynote address was read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Abang Johari also mentioned that Sarawak has been able to attract energy-intensive industries such as polycrystalline silicon, manganese and ferro-alloy and aluminium ingots as well as high-tech industries such as semiconductor, solar, copperfoil and others due to the state having abundant hydropower energy.

He pointed out that the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) alone has attracted sizeable foreign investments and that the state has been among the top three most preferred investment destinations in Malaysia for the past six years.

He said this far, SCORE has attracted total investments of RM39.94 billion, excluding the proposed RM17 billion steel project in Samalaju which will be the largest in the region.

He believed Sarawak’s business-friendly policies and its ability to provide modern infrastructure as well as competitive power and water tariffs are key factors to attracting investments.

“We are also able to provide land for industrial and large-scale agriculture with attractive premiums and flexible terms of payment.

“Investors are also entitled to 30 per cent rebates on land premium if their factories are completed and operational within three years,” he added.

Sarawak Business Federation president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg and Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific president Tan Sri Michael Yeoh were also present.