Taib: Smelting plant mirrors strong Asean spirit
MEGA PROJECT: Low (second left) briefing Taib on the US$592 million OM Sarawak Ferro Alloy Smelting Plant at Samalaju Industrial Park, as Awang Tengah (third left) looks on.
BINTULU: The joint-venture between OM Holdings Limited of Singapore and local outfit Samalaju Industries Sdn Bhd to establish the US$592 million (about RM1.78 billion) OM Sarawak Ferro Alloy Smelting Plant is a classic example of what could be achieved when there’s close Asean cooperation.
Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said by investing here, OM Holdings was also indirectly helping the government to turn a jungle some 60km from here into a vibrant industrial estate.
“This shows how far a close Asean cooperation can go. It will gradually lead to a much more free flow of people in response to various kinds of development,” he said at the groundbreaking of the proposed plant at Samalaju Industrial Park yesterday.
Taib said the state could play an important role in the production of alloy, particularly one that uses manganese.
“I do believe that this (joint-venture) company, with production of 600,000 tonnes of alloy starting either by late 2013 or early 2014, would show the way for many other investors who have the same interest. This probably will be the kind of industries that Sarawak will attract more because of the development in Asia.
“I think within the next five years we will see much more development which will we will all be proud of.”
Taib told those present that Bintulu was undergoing the second round of development, after the first one which focussed mainly on oil and gas industries.
Because of these transformations, Bintulu had evolved from a fishing village with only about 5,000 people some 30 years ago to a vibrant town of about 100,000 people today.
As for Samalaju Industrial Park, he said it would boast housing and commercial centres in the next few years to complement growth in the central region.
He added that the first housing project would be ready in three years time to accommodate around 15,000 people.
“Because of that, things would get easier for investors to come to Samalaju.” On the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy, Taib said it was the state’s strategy to bring up the income level of ordinary folks in tandem with the rapid pace of development taking place in South East Asia.
“SCORE will produce more than a million jobs within the next 20 years, out of which at least 32 per cent will be skilled and semi-skilled workers, and about 10 per cent in the management and supervisory level.”
Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani and OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd chairman Low Ngee Tong were among those present.