by Mulu View
The development of SCORE will link the State with the national economy much more in future than in the past as part of the migration from medium income to high income economy and towards the attainment of the status of a developed nation by the year 2020.
Hence, forum on investment or economic development must change in character to blend in SCORE not only as a mean of intensifying the structure of new industries but also to be logged in more and more into the national economy.
It can be anticipated that many industries will supply products to their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia. For example, some industries producing solar cell have already made plans for the purpose. There is already more than one firm that is interested to do so.
Presumably, with the eventual integration of the national economy some problems relating to transportation costs of cargo between Sarawak and Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia can be resolved. Obviously, there is an urgent need to make the freight charges between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak to be more moderate than they are now. It is the only way to build up cargo from Sarawak and Sabah to Peninsular Malaysia. Otherwise, the return trips of cargo ships from both states to Peninsular Malaysia will remain quite empty.
Understandably, Sarawak has been quite narrow in the approach towards industrial development. It missed opportunities to be involved in import substitution industry for the simple reason it has a small market and the logistic in the State in the old days was poor.
|Palm oil plantation|
Hence, the State had to concentrate on the timber industry to produce products for oversea market. However, since the mid 90s, it has been opening large tracts of land, now with a total acreage of nearly 1 million hectares, for palm oil estates. The estate development, from scratch, can provide the basis for another industrial exercise towards the year 2020 and beyond.
Generally, the long-term economic development of Sarawak will be based on heavy industries, bio-tech industries and at later stage eco-tourism in a big way that will bring about a new structure of the economy that can be called high income economy. However, the change that requires very different preparations will be sudden.
Understandably, the State’s major preparation for the implementation of SCORE is to create new breed of people with bigger portion of technical workers. According to the manpower survey being carried out by two firms, engaged by the State government, at least 52% of jobs to be created by SCORE will require skilled workers upward.
It is projected that the development of SCORE will create a total of 1.6 million jobs for skilled workers upward by the year 2030. Therefore, the training of people to become skilled technical workers poses as the biggest challenge to the State. The problem is compounded by the fact that everywhere in the world namely Singapore, Australia, China and India, there is shortage of technical people; the State has to compete with them.
Besides, Sarawak will not be able to compete with them just by getting foreign workers to fill the gap. Instead, the State must plan ahead to ensure by the year 2015, it will have sufficient technical workers for the right segments of industries. By then industries should be able to source their recruitments from the local people. That alone will make education as an industry by itself in Sarawak.
However, the State has almost a tailor made situation with regard to technical education. The industries, with the intention to come in, will tell the State government what kind of workers that they want. The people will be trained for them. The match between the requirements of industries and the training programs will in fact enable the State to act expeditiously to meet their requirements.
In this connection, local industrialists should get more involved in the training of their personnel as part of the overall manpower development in the State. Otherwise, they will have endless problems of one firm pinching workers from the other and vice versa. That will not solve the problem but will instead affect the structure of pay in the middle rung.
|Tanjung Manis Airport|
It can be anticipated that the initial development SCORE within the next three or four years should be able to benefits the service sector, the construction industry in particular. Hence, those involved in real property development should think of making alliances or expanding their businesses to undertake the development of industrial and housing estates surrounding the hydro dams.
Understandably, most people involved in heavy industries want to see the cluster of industries in one place. This, of course, means that the State must undertake the mammoth task to develop the infrastructure to supply water and electricity, public utilities and amenities. It will take at least four to five years to do so. But it is something worthwhile to look into as it may be the pattern of heavy industries that will come up in future.
Obviously, the third segment on SCORE apart from heavy industries and biotech industries in Tanjung Manis, is eco-tourism. This will come in quite prominently in areas where the hydro dams are being built. These areas, which normally have low population, can be kept alive by having some volume of activities relating to eco-tourism.
It is believed in three or four years from now there will be lot of opportunities for people involved in small and medium industries to explore. Those involved in such industries should try to take advantage of the opportunities that will come up.
The State has already accepted a total of RM26.4 billion worth of foreign investments to set up heavy industries in SCORE development area. It is something that the State can be happy about, it is more than what has been expected. They consist of 13 industries, 20% of them are local industries, 30% are joint venture industries and 37% foreign industries. They will have lots of spin-off effects for local industries. However, the development of heavy industries will take time for them to have spin-off effects on downstream industries.
Nevertheless, the development of infrastructure as required by industrialists will require injection of huge capital that can benefit service industries, the construction industry in particular. Hundreds and hundreds of million of ringgits have already been spent for the purpose. Generally, the investors are quite happy with the progress.
Generally, works on the development of SCORE are on schedule. For example, Bakun dam is being filled with water ahead of schedule. The dam is only waiting for all the turbines to be installed before it starts to operate. Works on Murum hydro dam are on schedule. The planning for the construction of hydro projects, each at Ulu Baram and Pelagus is being finalized. The two projects, once implemented, will enable the state to achieve target of having 6,000 to 7,000 megawatt of power by the year 2020. Works to install the transmission lines are on time to the satisfaction of industrialists.
Though works are progressing well to produce food based on biotech processing at Tanjung Manis there a lot more to be done to systematize and market Tanjung Manis as the Halal hub probably using Malaysian brand name. It is within this context that the State and Federal governments must work together towards achieving the desired objectives. Undoubtedly, the success of Tanjung Manis will create a lot of opportunities for the small people to get involved in the marketing of the products.
Understandably, the State Government is happy with efforts of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in organizing the investment forum quite regularly in the State. The forum has become an effective way to make small and medium entrepreneurs to become more active in the industrial development of the country. It has also been able to make local entrepreneurs and businessmen to be aware of opportunities that are coming up in their midst, in SCORE development area in particular.
*Photos Source: google.com.my