Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan

KUCHING:With the existing Sama Jaya High Tech Park almost occupied, there is a pressing need to set up more industrial parks and business premises to cater for the needs of investors.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan urged the federal government to help fund for the development of a new high-tech park to meet the increasing demand of the foreign direct investment (FDI) in Sarawak.

“Apart from improving our infrastructures for better connectivity, we also need more federal funding to develop more industrial parks and business premises to cater for the needs of investors, particularly our SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

“Our Sama Jaya High Tech Park, which is dedicated to the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, is almost full, and there is a need to develop a new high-tech park,” he said in his address at the Industry Engagement Session here today.

Similarly, there is also a demand for marine engineering park in Tanjung Manis, Awang Tengah said.

“Sarawak has a flourishing shipbuilding and ship repair industry where 60 out of 100 shipyards in Malaysia are located in Sarawak. We need more assistance from the federal government to develop and grow our SMEs,” he said.

While Sarawak has the largest gas reserves in Malaysia, it has not gone very far in terms of downstream activities, said the deputy chief minister.

“Sarawakians want to have greater participation in our oil and gas resources, both in upstream and downstream activities, and we want Sarawak to be a regional hub for the petrochemical industries, creating more values for our natural resources.

“The state has many comparative advantages for investment because we are able to offer competitive electricity and water tariffs as well as affordable land rates.

“These alone are not good enough to attract investment, especially FDI. We need to further improve our infrastructures, including deep sea ports, so as to be more competitive,” he said.

Awang Tengah also urged the federal government to fund infrastructure improvement in the state along with more favourable tax incentives to offset the high logistic costs for transportation to the state.

“As Sarawak is located on the Borneo Island, the export and import of our goods via Port Klang will incur additional logistic costs.

“The poor road network within Sarawak also adds to high haulage cost, for example, a 20-footer container from Kuching to Miri will cost about RM3,200. All these charges will add to the cost of doing businesses and passed on to consumers,” he said.