Fellow BN assemblymen Karim Hamzah ... shared the same concern.
SCORE on track to be a success story
BINTULU: Since the launch in 2008, the progress of the mammoth Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) has been phenomenal.
Located in the state’s central region and stretching 320km along the coast from Tanjung Manis in Mukah to Samalaju in Bintulu, and extending into the hinterland, Score is fast emerging as the investment heaven especially through the Samalaju Industrial Park (SIP).
Located 62 km or 40 minutes drive from Bintulu town, the SIP covers a total of 8,000 hectares of land with half the area snapped up by foreign investors mainly from the energy intensive and heavy industries.
Within a span of four year SIP, which is part of Score and expected to be the key player for Score’s growth, recorded a total investment of RM29.10 billion and created 15,000 jobs for Sarawakians.
The bulk of the investment came from five companies and their big investment reflects the growing confidence on Score’s future.
The five companies are Tokuyama Ltd of Japan, which produces polycrystalline silicon, Asia Mineral Ltd of Hong Kong (silicon manganese), OM Holdings Ltd of Singapore (fero manganese) and Press Metal Bhd of Malaysia (aluminum ingots and billets) and Asia Advanced Material of Korea (metallic silicon).
MORE COMPANIES COMING IN
To date, the five are among the 16 companies approved to invest in SIP and the good news does not stop here.
Sarawak Assistant Minister for Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion), Julaihi Narawi said nine new foreign companies have shown their interest to invest and now awaiting approval from the government.
Julaihi, who led a delegation six assistant ministers, 19 Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen and the chief minister’s 16 political secretaries for a working visit to SIP recently, however did not want to disclose the identities of the investors as he preferred to wait until the government gave its approval.
Not only that, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) General Manager, Datuk Mohidin Ishak who was one of the officials that gave the briefing at SIP said the rapid development there would unleash a population boom up to 50,000 people apart from creating economic spin off for Bintulu.
IN THE BIGGER PICTURE
And plans are underway for a new RM1.5 billion township located 15 kilometres from the SIP, on more than 2,200 hectares of land.
The proposed new township which will be jointly developed by property developer Naim Holding, BDA and Cahaya Mata Sarawak Berhad.
Despite the impressive growth, during the visit the assemblymen expressed their concern over the environment and health impact from the heavy industries in SIP.
The topics were particularly focused on the scheduled waste disposal which dominated almost the entire question and answer session after the briefing on SIP ended.
One of the most outspoken ones were Abdullah Saidol, the Sarawak BN Backbenchers Club chairman and Chief Political Secretary for the Chief Minister, who praised the growth of SIP but expressed his concern on the health of more than 200,000 Bintulu population as well as those who intend to reside in the new township.
Fellow BN assemblymen Karim Hamzah, Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi and Ripin Lamat shared the same concern.
The fear is natural looking at the experience of many countries where the heavy industries have been associated with air and water pollution, and health problems.
“Where will the waste from SIP be disposed,” Abdullah asked Mohidin after the briefing and the latter replied that BDA has the capacity to handle household waste but not the scheduled waste which is not under its purview either.
Mohidin said at the moment the industries operating in SIP have the option to send their scheduled waste to the nearest disposal centre – Kuching Integrated Waste Management Park (KIWMP) or Integrated Scheduled Waste Management Centre in Bukit Nanas, Negeri Sembilan in Peninsula.
MORE ASPECTS BEING LOOKED INTO
Mohidin was quick to explain that the absence of scheduled waste disposal facilities could open up economic opportunities for those interested as the services were now in great demand.
Officials from Tokuyuma Ltd, one of the industry operating at SIP, requested the government to set up the waste disposal facilities in Bintulu.
“It will lower our operating cost especially the transportation cost,” he said.
However, the environment and health issues at SIP could only be tackled in stages and the affirmative action for Bintulu folks too would be looked into.
Before leaving the briefing room, Abdullah told Mohidin in jest, “Please do not throw your waste at Pulau Bruit,” referring to one of islands in his constituency.– BERNAMA