High-income boost to come from Miri

View point from Canada Hill overlooking Miri city.

Sarawak’s 2030 vision

MIRI: This city and division as a whole has huge economic potential and will play a very critical role in complementing Sarawak’s vision of becoming a developed and high-income state by 2030, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He expressed confidence that with the strategic plans laid out by the state government and the private sector’s active involvement, the state was on the right track to achieve its objective.

“We need to have a comprehensive master plan for Miri Division, encompassing development thrusts, strategic objectives, and programmes and projects to drive the division forward in line with the overall state’s development strategies.

“The development plans of all the relevant agencies have to be consolidated in a strategic manner as the economic sectors need to be supported by the right ecosystem and the right enablers. I am glad that Miri has started the preparation of the master plan, taking into consideration the input and feedback from the ground,” he said.

His text of speech was read by Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin at the closing ceremony of the two-day Greater Miri Development Master Plan Lab 2020 at Pullman Miri Waterfront Hotel here today.

Abang Johari said the state government, aware of challenges faced in developing Sarawak due to its large geographical area, had established regional development agencies — namely Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA), Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA), Sri Aman Development Area (SADA) and Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency (IRSDA).

“The Sarawak government has approved substantial allocation of RM1.5 billion each for these agencies, which are tasked to develop their respective region through a more integrated planning approach.

“As for Miri Division, the HDA is responsible to develop the socioeconomic (aspects) of this region, particularly the highland area,” he said.

Pointing out that Miri was blessed with abundant oil and gas (O&G) resources, Abang Johari highlighted that the state government through Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) would have control of all oil and natural gas produced onshore.

He said the state government had demonstrated its commitment to continue regulating oil and mining activities by issuing two Oil Mining Licenses to Petros in respect of two blocks — one in Adong Kecil West in Miri area and the other in the Engkabang area south of Marudi on Oct 30.

“This signifies the beginning of the Sarawak government’s efforts to exercise Sarawak’s constitutional rights to regulate oil mining under the state laws to take complete control over the exploration and production of petroleum in the onshore.

“Miri City will be the base for these exploration activities, creating spill-over economic activities and employment for local talents from Miri and Sarawak,” said Abang Johari. 

He also welcomed Shell’s decision to consolidate its upstream operation in Malaysia to Miri, emphasising that this reflected its confidence in the state government as well as Miri as a good location for investment in the O&G industry.

“With Miri as the Shell headquarters, I am sure this will create more opportunities for Sarawakians, local oil and gas players and contractors to participate in the value chain of O&G upstream activities,” he said.

The chief minister also pointed out that state government was exploring the hydrogen economy — a move well received by the private sector and industry players.

He said recent investments into this sector by several large corporations signified the confidence of the private sector players in the enormous potential of hydrogen production in Sarawak.

“The investments will contribute not only to localising production of alternative energy but also to reinvigorating the local economy and creating job opportunities,” Abang Johari said.