KUCHING: Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score), which is now into its phase two development, has attracted about RM79.3bil investments from both the private and public sectors.
Score, one of Malaysia’s five economic corridors, marks its 10th anniversay this year.
Approved total private investments in 22 projects involving various industries amounted to RM33.6bil. Ten of the projects, mostly energy-intensive and heavy industries, are already in operation, according to Regional Corridor Development Authority (Recoda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismawi Ismuni.
The pioneer Score investors in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu are Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd (aluminium smelter), OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Pertama Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and Sakura Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd (ferrosilicon and manganese smelters), OCI Malaysia Sdn Bhd (formerly Tokuyama Malaysia Sdn Bhd) (polycrystaline silicon manufacturer). Also in operations in the park are Iwanti-SIG Industrial Gas Sdn Bhd and Elkem Carbon Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Press Metal also owns an aluminium smelting plant in Mukah, one of Score’s five growth nodes.
In the Tanjung Manis growth node, two agro-based projects owned by Taiwan’s Sea Party and Fieldmart Sdn Bhd (Malaysia-Japan joint venture) are in operation.
These 10 projects involved total investments of about RM18.5bil.
For the remaining 12 approved projects, two each are in the construction stage and site preparation while the balance eight are under negotiations.
“Score has created more than 61,000 jobs. For Samalaju alone, the spin-off of RM500mil a month injected into the local economy is benefitting the small and medium entreprises (SMEs),” said Ismawi.
Ismawi said out of Score’s 10 priority industries, four were trigger industries – aluminium, steel, oil-based and glass – which had the ability to attract cluster industries.
“There are still investors who are keen to invest (in Score) because of the energy and competitive edge we have.
“We have sold out almost all of our Bakun dam power (2,400MW). We are now running out of power, so we build more hydro dams,” said Ismawi in a paper presentation on “Let’s invest in Sarawak: The opportunities and Potentials” business session during the inaugural Sarawak-China business forum last week.
He said the green and renewable hydro energy was the key attraction for heavy and energy intensive industries to set up manufacturing facilities in Score.
Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) recently acquired Bakun dam from the federal government for RM9bil. It also owns Murum dam (944MW) built for RM4.8bil and is now undertaking the RM9.5bil Baleh dam (1,285MW) project for scheduled commissioning by 2025.
SEB’s power generation is further boosted with the commissioning of the Balingian coal-fired power plant (624MW).
SEB’s available power capacity for Score was 3,837MW last year against customer demand of 3,434MW. This is expected to increase to 4,430MW and 4,162MW respectively in 2020.
Ismawi said the public investment in Score involved mainly infrastructure development, like roads and bridges, water supply and telecommunication.
State-owned SEB has made significant investment in the power sector to bring electricity from the Bakun and Murum dams in the upper Rejang basins to the industrial park.
He said a deepsea port had been built to serve industries in Samalaju Industrial Park in the import of raw materials and export of finished products.
Score has made another milestone with the extension of its boundary by 30% to about 100,000 sq km from 77,000 sq km early this year.
“The extension of score boundary now covers the entire Limbang Division (in northern Sarawak bordering Sabah),” said Ismawi.
To accelerate the development of Score hinterland, the state government has set up three development agencies under Recoda. They are Upper Rejang Development Agency, Highland Development Agency and Northern Regional Development Agency.
Ismawi said the three agencies were tasked to bring development into the rural and interior Sarawak.
Six economic trigger projects – aquaculture, tourism, forestry, palm oil, rubber and biotechnology – have been identified for the Score hinterland which is endowed with abundant natural resources.
For the highland development, the focus is on commercial agriculture and production of highland crops. An integrated highland agriculture station, which is under construction, is expected to serve as a catalyst for commercial agriculture development.
“For commercial agriculture, we need to bring in anchor farmers,” said Ismawi.
He sees the lack of basic infrastructure as a big challenge in the development of green-field areas in the Score hinterland.
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