Sarawak’s Oil Will Go The Same Way As Its Timber

In the first three months of 2017, Sarawak exported RM1.4 billion worth of timber and timber products. In the same period only RM11.2 million worth of wooden furniture was exported, roughly 0.0000008% of total timber exports.

This comparison shows the easy way the state’s authorities have taken to manage the state’s timber resources which is simply to cut down more forests instead of focusing on higher value-added products.

They simply rubber stamp the logging and log exports by Sarawak’s large timber concerns without bothering about the forest sustainability for the future or in developing more downstream activities.

This after its former governor Abdul Taib Mahmud (above) took over as chief minister in 1981.

Tropical timber exports from Malaysia (of which Sarawak accounts for almost 70 percent of the total) has been steadily dropping from more than 26 million cubic metres in 1991 to less than 9 million cubic metres in 2011.

If Sarawak had preferred to grow its resources sustainably while creating an eco-system of support industries and further developing the downstream value-add chain, it would by now have an established range of Sarawakian furniture or wood product brands.

Sarawak would also be a world leader in forest regeneration.

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Sarawak committed to addressing global warming: CM

Sarawak is a major player in Malaysia’s commitment to addressing global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said 74 per cent or 3,452 MW of the energy produced in Sarawak is from renewable energy generated from the three hydro-electric dams of Batang Ai, Bakun and Murum HEP.

“This is more than Malaysia’s target of achieving 2,080 MW of renewable energy by 2020 which will result in avoiding seven million tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) annually,” Abang Johari said in his speech that was read out by Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais who represented him at the gala dinner hosted in conjunction with the Better Air Quality Conference (BAQ) 2018 at the Borneo Conference Centre Kuching (BCCK).

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The best of Sarawak’s entrepreneurs

The state once again honours the best it has to offer via the Sarawak State Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EOYS) 2018 and Sarawak State Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award 2018 presented at the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (SCCI) 67th Annual Dinner on Friday at the Imperial Hotel, Kuching.

Organised by the Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Sarawak in association with SCCI and Ernst & Young (EY), it was first launched in 2004 and is a prestigious Awards Program held annually to honour and acknowledge exceptional entrepreneurial talent and leadership.

Up to last year, 50 entrepreneurs from all over Sarawak have been given this recognition.

The EOYS aims to recognise the best in business in Sarawak, namely the prime movers that drive the state’s path towards economic growth and high income State 2030.

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DAP wants Sarawak CM to explain investment in KL specialist hospital

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg must explain why the state government invested in the development of a children’s specialist hospital in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen (pic) said he had received the report from the Ministry of Finance that the development of the hospital involved an investment of RM600mil through a joint venture between the State Financial Secretary Sarawak and a private company, Zecon Berhad.

“There is no reason for the state government to come out with the investment and be involved in the development of the hospital outside Sarawak while complaining of the poor standard of medical facilities in Sarawak,” he told a press conference here Sunday (Nov 25).   

On another note, Chong who is Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumers Affair Minister, said Sarawak cannot continue to be an opposition state, or else it would continue to be left behind in terms of development and distribution of welfare benefits from the federal government to the people of Sarawak. – Bernama

WEF initiative pledges to equip 20 million ASEAN workers with digital skills by 2020

A coalition of major tech companies pledged today to develop digital skills for the ASEAN workforce. The pledge, part of the World Economic Forum’s Digital ASEAN initiative, aims to train by 2020 some 20 million people in South-East Asia, especially those working in small- and medium-size enterprises.

Other goals include raising $2 million in contributions to provide scholarships for ASEAN technology students, ensuring an additional 200,000 digital workers are hired across the region, and engaging at least 20,000 citizens through “Digital Inspiration Days”, whereby companies invite students and the public to visit their offices and learn more about the character of the jobs of the future. There will also be internship opportunities for ASEAN university students, as well as initiatives to train digital regulators and shape the curricula of technology and computing courses at 20 ASEAN universities.

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There were once three trains plying the Kuching to10th Mile route. The engines were named Bintang, Bulan and Jean

Conserving our heritage

THE Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS) made a fascinating revelation about Kuching’s history this week.

According to the society, ongoing drainage works at Jalan Masjid, Jalan Market and Jalan Lebuh Jawa in the city centre have unearthed old railway tracks which used to serve Kuching in the early 20th century.

“This re-discovery acts as a reminder that the area is charged with history,” SHS said in a statement. It said Sir Charles Brooke, Sarawak’s second Rajah, set up the Sarawak Government Railway Line which opened on April 9, 1916.

The first phase of the track, which was completed in early 1915, connected the Kuching Railway Terminus to the Third Mile Bazaar, crossing Green Road and going along what used to be called Jalan Keretapi (now part of Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce).

By the end of 1915, according to SHS, the line had been extended to the Seventh Mile Bazaar (now Kota Sentosa) and by mid-1916 to the 10th Mile Bazaar (Kota Padawan). A trip from Kuching to 10th Mile took 35 minutes and the service was available five times a day, with a passenger fare of 20 cents.

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Thailand keen on tourism and trade ties with Sarawak

Thailand is keen to explore tourism and trade cooperation with Sarawak, says its ambassador to Malaysia Narong Sasitorn. He said sustainable tourism was a potential area where Thailand and Sarawak could work together.

“I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far in terms of the tourism potential in Sarawak and I think you can achieve more success in this area. “As your tourism industry grows, one challenge is sustainability and this is something we can cooperate on,” he told a press conference here.

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“Corruption among factors behind lack of development in rural Sarawak” – Uggah

The Sarawak government is committed to creating a transparent and corruption-free administration to ensure efficiency in addressing the people’s problems as well as the implementation of various government projects and initiatives.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said corruption was among the reasons which contributed to the lack of development in rural areas of Sarawak.

“There are areas where despite having a piping system, there is no water supply. There are also incomplete roads or projects which have taken too much time to be implemented, in addition to villages without electricity supply.

“We can’t deny that (sometimes) it’s due to corruption, which has led to people’s problems and other longstanding issues remaining unresolved. As such, we must uphold integrity at all levels to ensure that the government’s initiatives and projects can benefit the people,” he said.

Uggah, who is also the state Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, said the ministry is in the process of transforming the agriculture industry as Sarawak aims to become a net food exporter by 2030.

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Sarawak to explore new sources of revenue from forest sector

Sarawak is working with Shell to explore and empower new sources of revenue from the state’s forest sector.

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said the collaboration involved the forest sector such as carbon trading.

He said the exploration of new sources of revenue will also include the ecotourism sector.

“For this purpose, various initiatives have been taken, for example empowering sustainable forest management practices and forest and wildlife conservation programmes.

“The local community is urged to participate in activities related to ecotourism, for example providing tour guide services, homestay accommodation, local food preparations, cultural performances and so on,” said Abang Johari, who is also the Urban Development and Natural Resources Minister, at the opening of the Non-Timber Forest Products Carnival at the Kuching Waterfront.

The text of his speech was read out by his deputy Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the state government had gazetted 803,042.40 hectares of land as permanent forest estates and fully protected areas.

– Bernama

SUPP Playing A Desperate Game

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) seems to be playing a desperate game. The moment Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the General Elections, it announced that it would leave the sinking ship and join Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). SUPP was comprehensively rejected by the people, winning a miserable 1 parliament seat in its so-called strong hold, through Sebastian Ting. Even the SUPP head honcho lost to DAP’s Chong comprehensively.

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