Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shipbuilding plan for Pulau Bruit

Friday, 03 December 2010 15:31
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KUCHING: A piece of land in Pulau Bruit has been earmarked by the government for the development of shipbuilding industry, revealed Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud.

He said although Sarawak had been successful in its shipbuilding industry, earning hundreds of million ringgit by now, the industry had not really been able to fully exploit the potential of the market.

While Sarawak could supply its own brands of vessels to the ASEAN region and sometimes to the Asia-Pacific region, the industry had not really gone for the high-income jobs that were waiting to be exploited in the world, like going into specialist ship-building, perhaps luxury yachts which needed intensive skills in both metal and nonmetal sectors, he added.

He pointed out that this was among the many undertakings that the state government wanted to launch and properly develop under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

The government, he said, had in fact allocated and earmarked a very beautiful piece of land at one end of Pulau Bruit where the shipbuilding industry would also be served by a very deep port, Kuala Paloh.

“With a deep port, we can build much bigger vessels and further develop the shipbuilding industry with enhanced capability within the next 20 years,” said Taib during the official opening and launching of the Sarawak Foundry & Engineering Industries Association’s building and Automotive and Welding Institute of Sarawak at Demak Laut Industrial Estate, Off Jalan Bako here yesterday.
When interviewed later, the Chief Minister disclosed that the Korean government in the early days had discovered Kuala Paloh as having the deepest estuary in Sarawak.

But the problem with Kuala Paloh is that it is only deep up to the point where it is joined by the Igan River. The tip of Pulau Bruit will be an ideal site for shipbuilding.

When asked on the state’s plan to develop that area for shipbuilding industry, the Chief Minister said, “We are in the process of moving out from Tanjung Manis which is no longer going to be a shipbuilding area. Rantau Panjang is already full. The next site will be at Pulau Bruit.” Taib said shipbuilding companies in Sarawak were mainly concentrated in Sibu and Miri but he would prefer the concentration in Rajang areas which were ideal for shipbuilding while Miri should be more of a resort city, moving towards the services, tourism, education and medical industries.

When asked if there was any discussion between the state government and the shipbuilders on the matter, he said, “It’s up to them. I am just dangling the carrot. If they take it up, it is okay.” He also disclosed that the state government had not yet acquired the Bakun hydro-electric project from the federal government, but he would be having a final meeting with the Prime Minister very soon.

On the rumours that Parti Peska Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) would be fielding 10 new faces in the coming state election, Taib, who is PBB President said, “I don’t know…you ask them from where they get the rumours.”

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