KUCHING: Among Sarawak’s post Covid-19 economic focuses is the development of the petrochemical industry with its hub in Tanjong Kidurong, Bintulu, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said that currently, at the 1,000-acre area allocated for this hub, site preparation is in progress to develop a methanol plant at a cost of RM3.74 billion.
“Besides this, an international company has also confirmed it will invest RM24 billion (USD 6 billion) at the hub,” Abang Johari said when launching the state-level National Month and Fly the Jalur Gemilang campaign at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building here yesterday.
He said that the downstream oil and gas (O&G) industry is expected to provide employment opportunities to 74,000 individuals directly and indirectly.
“It is expected that with the implementation of this petrochemical industry as well as other economic programmes, the household income in Sarawak will increase and Sarawak will no longer be termed ‘Rich but Poor State’ by 2030,” he said.
According to Abang Johari, Sarawak was one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — around 10 percent.
“In 2019, Sarawak’s GDP was estimated at RM136.05 billion with a per capita income of RM53,317. The statistics seem commendable but the reality is that household income in Sarawak is still low — RM5,218 in 2019,” he said.
Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak’s O&G revenue was a major contributor to the nation’s income.
However, he said that on average, the household income is still low as the state’s O&G industry did not provide adequate employment opportunities for Sarawakians.
He said that Sarawak should examine this shortcoming in a more detail and at a micro level and take actions to rectify this situation.
The chief minister said that the dreams of the state’s previous leaders were also the same dreams of all Sarawakians today, which was to see Sarawak advance and excel like other developed states and countries.
“A Sarawak which has comprehensive and great infrastructure and basic facilities in the urban and rural areas, modern transportation facilities in the big cities, Internet access at every corner of the state and economic empowerment based on digital technology are the dreams of Sarawakians today — regardless of background, religion and political views,” he said.
He hoped that everyone would show their national spirit by flying the Malaysian flag at business premises, housing estates, villages, longhouses and vehicles.
During the launch, Abang Johari also flagged off the Jalur Gemilang convoy at the DUN foyer and visited the mini exhibition area.
Earlier, a live stream of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s address at the national-level launch of the programme, themed ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, at Putrajaya was also shown.
Also present were DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, Sarawak Federal Secretary Mohd Shahabuddin Omar, Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, other Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers as well as heads of departments.