BY TANIA LAM & SARAH HAFIZAH CHANDRA
KUCHING: The state government has requested the federal government to reduce or eliminate import taxes on vehicles which utilise hydrogen fuel.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles was expected to pick up by 2023.
He was speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) Energy Sdn Bhd, Sumitomo Corporation, and Eneos via Zoom today.
“The timing of today’s MoU is just nice because the large-scale hydrogen production facility in Bintulu can be completed and be ready by 2023 to meet the needs of potential buyers.
“The state-of-the-art plant itself can be further expanded for hydrogen production of 10,000 tons per year as the need arises,” he said.
The tripartite MoU signing ceremony for the development of Bintulu Hydrogen Plant, was done virtually via Zoom, at the Grand Margherita Hotel here.
Abang Johari said this development augured well for Sarawak’s future as the strategic partnership between SEDC and its Japanese partners would pave the way for Sarawak to venture further into the hydrogen economic agenda which was progressively being pursued by developed countries.
He said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government would move forward to meet the world demand while looking at the future of the global economy, where hydrogen will be the driving power behind development.
He explained that the reason behind this was environmental conservation and ensuring that Sarawak played its part in the global agenda of having a green environment.
“Sarawak is aiming to leverage on the abundance of raw materials that we have, including the cheap electricity tariffs produced by our own hydropower dams, which enables us to actually produce the hydrogen gas with cost effectiveness in mind, where the production system itself must be viable in order to achieve sustainability in the long haul.
“We cannot view the production of renewable energy as a form of damage control on the environment. The fact of the matter is that the next source of power supply for mankind must come from common things that we all have in our backyard such as natural water supply, the sun, and even from the wind,” said the chief minister, adding that water and solar resources were abundant in Sarawak.
On Sarawak’s Petrochemical Hub in Bintulu, he said once this was completed and fully operational, the plant would create many job opportunities for locals in addition to having the potential of contributing an additional RM16 to RM20 billion per annum to Sarawak’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and SEDC chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain.