Premier: 2024 better year for Sarawak with more revenue, investments


Abang Johari (centre) flanked by Pang (left), Dr Sim (right) and other guests at the SUPP Bintulu CNY open house.

BINTULU (Feb 15): Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg is optimistic that this Year of the Dragon, Sarawak will continue to record additional revenue with many high-paying jobs to be offered to Sarawakians.

With the prudent financial management of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government under his leadership, he believes more investors would be attracted to invest in the state.

Abang Johari cited two new investments coming to Bintulu this year, namely the proposed establishment of an ammonia plant and a graphite plant.

“This ammonia plant cost about US$3 billion, it will come to Bintulu and provide high paying jobs, there will be a few hundred engineers as well as management expertise to run this plant,” he said.

The second major project, he added, is the graphite plant, which cost about US$1.5 billion and would be the first in Southeast Asia.

“If other countries want to switch from using fossil fuels to hydrogen fuel cells, they will need graphite and we will be the main producer of graphite in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Moreover, he added, the Bintulu Port Authority will be returned to Sarawak in June this year, after 43 years under the federal government, giving Sarawak autonomy over the port.

He said all the new investments are high-value projects requiring highly skilled workers.

But in order for young Sarawakians to benefit from all this, the state government must improve the education system in line with the needs of the job market in Bintulu, he reminded.

“Under the GPS plan, in 2026, we will provide free tertiary education in line with our economic development to Sarawakian children studying in Sarawak-owned universities.

“GPS will pay the fees and we are the first state to do so. I did not promise it in the election but I will do it for the sake of the children of Sarawak,” he said during the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bintulu Chinese New Year open house at Dinner World Restaurant here today.

With Sarawak recognised as a high-income state, this shows that GPS is a caring and concerned government, the premier pointed out.
Abang Johari said he met with 19 ambassadors from the European Union and their corporate leaders on Wednesday.

“For the first time, they have come as a large group to see the economic development in Southeast Asia, their first engagement,” he said.

He said they were still in Kuching to learn about Sarawak’s economic policies.

“It means the world already knows where Sarawak is. They may not have known us last time, but now they do, because we have a new economy,” he said.

Abang Johari also touched on the development in Bintulu, citing the Jepak Bintulu bridge which will be completed soon, and now will no longer be a dream and looks like a bridge in San Francisco in the USA.

“Now we can see it. Jepak is currently undergoing development using our own income, to give back to Bintulu.

“I am sure BDA (Bintulu Development Authority) will expand the Sebauh and Tatau area as part of Bintulu’s big development plan,” he said.

He believes the future of Bintulu is bright with structured development and affordable housing for the people.

“We are meeting the demand, if there is a good supply of houses, the prices will come down, this is market forces. Previously when housing was concentrated in Bintulu town, the price was so high. Now we are spreading it out to Tatau and Sebauh and building new housing areas,” he said.

At the same time, he said Bintulu will be the next to have the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) transport system after Kuching.

Also present at the gathering were Deputy Premier and SUPP president Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian and his wife Datin Amar Enn Ong Siok Ean, Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin and his wife Datin Sri Kong Shui Lin, Deputy Minister (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, SUPP Bintulu chairman and Tanjong Batu assemblyman Johnny Pang Leong Ming, Bintulu Resident Nyurak Keti and SUPP Bintulu CNY open house organising chairman Hii Seing Siong.