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Speech by SA for Tg. Batu Chiew Chiu Sing on the debate of the Supply Bill 2017 in the Sarawak State Legislative Council, Kuching, Sarawak

Mr. Speaker,

The ambitious Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) which was launched by the Prime Minister in Febuary 2008 is very quiet these days.

The project which aims to develop the central region in Sarawak, covering an area of 70,708 Square Kilometer, comprising of 5 Development nodes namely Mukah, Tg. Manis, Tunoh, Baram and Samalaju. The project targeted date of completion is year 2030.

Mr. Speker after next month is year 2018, from 2030, there is only 12 more years to go. 10 years have gone by, and how much have we achieve ?

We know we have done something at the Samalaju Industrial Park, but what about the Mukah node, Tg. Manis node, the Tunoh Kapit node and the Baram node. Very little is done, very little indeed.

Even the something that was done on the Samalaju Industrial Park, but that is just 7 companies which is operational, 2 others under construction and 8 others still under negotiation out of a total number of 27 projects which was so much talked about before.

Samalaju Industrial park covers an area of 8000 hectres, it is a very well planned and developed industrial park and even has its own seaport right at the door step! Not to mention of the two four lanes highway leading to and from Bintulu to Samalaju. She has her own water treatment plant and electricity comes from the Bakun Dam , there is the newtownship also and many other basic facilities.

I mean everything is there, but only the factories are not there. If you go to the Samalaju Industrial Park, you can see some factories here and there, But there is still so much space.

According to the target date, only 12 years is left and I hope that by then Samalaju Industrial Park will be fully occupied and operational as planned.

Mr. Speaker,

This is most important because I could still remmember when Samalaju Industrial Park first started, Bintulu was a vibrant town, business was good, everybody was busy making money, good money. Private development shot up all of a sudden, shop houses muchroomed, condominium and shoping centres all started to come up. Today some are still in their various stages of construction.

That was the second boom of BIntulu, but now we must fully developed the Samalaju Industrial Park to sustain our development node at samalaju and to bring forward the development of Bintulu.

Mr. Speaker,

If by just developing the Samalaju node of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, the impact on the developmnet of Bintulu is that much, just think how the whole of the central region of Sarawak can be transformed,when the Mukah IT node is developed, the Tg Manis halal hub is developed, the Tunoh tourism node is developed and the Baram node is developed.

But unfortunately the admistrations after the Taib administration seems to have lost their directions and mission in SCORE. After the Taib adminstration we hear little about what is happening with our SCORE but instead we hear all the hoo ha, LRT, communications tower, e commerce, digital economy etc etc. though they are important but we do first thing first, if SCORE had been that important to us during the Taib administration let us carry that forward and take it all the way to fully accomplish our goals. LIke I said, I have seen how it had helped Bintulu and I am sure it will do the same for other areas also.

I know other countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are rapidly rising to become the cheaper preferrred destionations of many of the Foreign Direct Investments but I believe we are still a FDI destionation for some multinationals. But we must be creative and carry out successful initatives to atrract them. Think hard, focus and put a great, great effort into it. yes we can, don’t prematuredly de-industrilize ourselves. It is all about where this administrtions is putting its priority. Isn’t it.

On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, we need to urgently develop our domestic industrialisation policy also. We do not have to rely on FDI all the time. I note that the biggest companies in Sarawak are involved in power supply, property, construction, palm oil and timber.

Of these sectors only two of them are presently involved in industrialisation for export, namely palm oil and timber, while others are more service oriented. In fact these big players in the palm oil and timber industries should be in the fore front to lead Sarawak in industrialisation activities by going up the value chain and produce product for export !

For example, the big timber company must produce high value global funiture products with our abundant hardwood timber resources and not just sell logs for easy money, while completely neglect to industrialize, to build factories and make products.

The Adenan administration had talked about this but where is the furniture made in Sarawak for export ? Or are we just interested in catching the illegal loggers,not that it is not important, and now even more sophisticatedly catching them with drone ! But please for goodness sake do something more productive for our timber industry.

And also the big palm oil company they must produce the high end products in the cosmmetic and food industries where palm oil is a major ingredient. Don’t just look at North Korea in producing cosmetics they don’t even have palm oil ! We know what they have.

We need to fully realise our comparative advantages and build on them to create finished, branded products as global champions in their respective fields.

Of course we cannot just leave it like that to the big companies. So what is the government doing to incentivise them ? All these while, they have not succeed becasue of the lack of leadership from the government.

For example, the government can grant tax dedections on investment in high end finished products, pull in the universerties to work hand in hand with these big companies to do research, to invent and to produce these products while at the same time making sure that our institutions have the best experts, the latest tools and scientific equipement for the task.

The government of the day must also do trade promotion overseas, take a little, as may be even just one percent of the value of the export of their goods, to do the trade promotion overseas. Spend another half percent may be on sustainablility and best practices certitication to ensure that their goods are incompliance with the best international health, socio economic and environment standards.

Mr. Speaker,

That is about big companies. But in the industrilisation of our domestic industry, which we must ! we must develop our smaller companies also. just look at the many many success stories of SME in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Yet what do we have? We were better off, when they were so poor before, and now they are way ahead of us and we hardly have any.

The best start off as a SME industrialist that I could remmber is the father of the member for Dalat. He had a factory making galvanized buckets, chain link fence, BRC mesh for concrete reinfocing and even chicken cage as well as many iron, steel and aluminium products. he was right with his time, started in the sixties. Since then we have dropped far behind, so few small and medium industrial developments these day . Many opted to just open up coffee shops and do hawkerings. What went wrong ?

Mr. Speaker,

The road off Jalan Sultan Iskandar, at Mile two and half, near SMK Bintulu, leading to the SK Assykirin, comes up to not even to a kilo meter in distance but it is so much used by the folks there.

We have the primary school there, Kastam and other federal quarters, an apartment and the Gem housing estate.

Each day during peak hours, the road is so packed and is hard to manouver as the road is narrow and undulating. Although improvement had been done at the outlet juction of the road, it is the fevernt hope of the people there that the road can be reconstructed widened and the surface made more even, so that it could be easier and safer for all the road users there to use. Like I said, it is short, not even a KM long, so it wont cost that much to the government but the benefits are many to the peoples.

Mr. Speaker,

Over the years the people in Bintulu had been very concerned about the road linking Nyigu to the Bintulu Tatau road. I have mentioned also in this Dewan before about the importance of this road, as it not only will bring about the development on both sides of the road there, but also as an alternative road to Kampong Jepak, longhouses in the Ulu Sebauh road and coastal road as well as the Bintulu airport.

At the moment there is only one road from Bintulu to go to the airport and that is via the Bintulu/Tatau road. Anything happens to that road, before the Sibiew Road juction, travelling to the airport is cut off.

Bintulu is fast growing and by right there should be an alternative road to such an important and strategic place like the airport , cannot be just one route to go there only. The Nyigu road will not only shorten the distance from Bintulu town area to the airport but will also help greatly the people of Kampong Jepak, AETEC and the many longhouses along coastal highway and at Ulu Sebauh road, shorting their route from Bintulu to their respective areas.

It is urged that the road should be built as soon as poosible, it is not long, may be just a couple of KM only.

Mr. Speakrer,

I cannot believe last year, when I saw with my own eyes that a heavy storm coming into the Tatau town could actually cut off the electricity supply for the whole town, right there and then. And that was exactly what happened in the middle of that day. Black out on all the the shops, referigerator not running, fan not working, everything stops. Not to mention schoool, clinics and other government facilities and offices. I went to the gas station to pump some petrol, gas pumps were not working also.

The losses and inconvieneces caused to the peope in Tatau town must be great and they really do not need to go through this kind of thing, year after year. It is urged that SESCO would look into this matter seriously and solve their problems once and for all, as the people there are telling me that this is not happening just once in a blue moon but very often !!

Then there is the water supply in Tatau. This problem has also been there for so long, low water pressure and the oftern murky water supply. Just imagine the murkyu water coming out of your tap while you are bathing or cooking. People in Tatau do not deserve treatment like that. Tatau is an important and centrally located town in the Tatau area and is growing bigger by the day.

The water treatment plant there was built in the early days catering for the need of the old town then, but since then Tatau town had grown in leaps and bounds.

What is happening to the 5 million liters water tank at Samalaju Industrial Park which the Ministry had in a written reply to me during the last sitting said that it will be moved to Tatau to alleviate the water problem there? Is the tendering process done and when will the tank eventually be moved and supply water to fill up all the empty pipes already connected for two elections now to the longhouses along the Tatau Road area but still empty, no water.

Lastly Mr. Speaker,

It is the fences along the fareway at Hole N0 17 and 18 of the Bintulu Golf Club. The fence line shares the same boundary of the Tg. Batu coastal road. There used to be a fence there, as high as an electric lamp post but had fallen after a storng rain storm that hit Bintulu in August last year.

Unfortunately up to this this day no barrier had been put up while only a line of small acacia trees are planted waiting for them to grow to become a barrier. of course that will take many many years.

Meanwhile, golf balls sometime would find themselves flying onto the coastal road and it is most dangerous to the road user there. It could actuall shoot someone on the head and kill the person or it could hit a car, causing panic and serious accident, though up to now the accidents are not that drastic yet. But one accident is already an accident too many as it could be fatal anytime.

We do not need to wait till that time to take action as it would be too late. I had been told that the old fencing net is still there and I wonder just for the time being whether some big enough high tension electric post could be erected and the net be hung and thus the accident minimised.

Thank you . Mr. Speaker.

Chiew Chiu Sing
SA for Tg. Batu
Speech by Chiew Chiu Sing on the debate of the Supply Bill 2017 in the Sarawak State Legislative Council, Kuching, Sarawak on Tuesday, 14th November 2017