Sarawak to gain from Indonesia’s latest green industrial estate


Jokowi (right) is seen on a tour around the newly launched green industrial estate which will span 30,000 hectares and include investment from China and the United Arab Emirates. – Photo from Jokowi’s Twitter

KUCHING (Jan 16): Sarawak will benefit from Indonesia’s latest new industrial estate in Borneo, which officials said aims to use hydropower for plants producing items including semiconductors, lithium ion batteries, solar panels and aluminium products.

Located in North Kalimantan province, the estate will span 30,000 hectares (74,132 acres) and include investment from China and the United Arab Emirates, President Joko Widodo said during a ground-breaking ceremony on December 21, 2021.

“Indonesia’s economic transformation starts here where we will manage our natural resources from the upstream to downstream to create massive job availability,” Jokowi said in a broadcast event.

The Indonesian president said he is keen to establish manufacturing industries to take advantage of Indonesia’s rich natural resources such as nickel, bauxite and copper so that the country can move up the value chain and not just export raw materials.

According to Sarawak Business Federation secretarty general Jonathan Chai, Sarawak, being the closest neighbor to Kalimantan, would receive tremendous economic spillover from Indonesia’s plan to move its capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan.

“Sarawak could benefit directly from it through the abundant clean energy supply, niche tourism, and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) with the improved road connectivity and infrastructure,” he said when contacted by thesundaypost.

“The clean energy supply will be one of the developments worth highlighting as the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo plans to shift fossil fuel energy to clean energy.

“This is an opportunity for Sarawak to offer and introduce its clean energy expertise similar to what it has done with Bakun and other hydropower plants.”

“Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) chairman Sim Kiang Chiok believed that Indonesia’s huge investment will eventually spill over into neighbouring and Bimp-eaga countries, Sarawak included.

They will need to source temporary energy supply such as electricity, raw material for their factories, and market for their finished products.

“As Indonesia steps up its emphasis on green energy, how do you think Sarawakian businesses fare on this point, and what we should do to catch up?

Going green is the way to go forward in all walks of our lives including how we work,” Sim enthused to The Sunday Post.

The Sheda chairman saw that most countries have committed in COP26 by United Nations for climate change recently in Scotland to reduce  global warming.

Coincidentally, SBF’s Chai noted that Sarawak was also moving forward in the same direction as its Indonesian counterpart by going green.

“In fact, environmental sustainability is one of the key strategies for our Post Covid-19 Development Strategies 2030 in developing our economy and it would be further enhanced through the development of the Sarawak Sustainable Environment Blueprint,” he added.

“The blueprint would cover both the green and blue economy initiatives like climate action, forestry, financing, water and land use, and green cities and mobility.

“With the similar vision of environmental sustainability in the development of economy as envisaged by both leaders, perhaps we could complement each other by exploring business opportunities and intensifying mutual cooperation in developing the ‘green’ economy in Borneo.”