Dayak appointed as Communications Ministry senior official in Sarawak

The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia has appointed a former senior federal officer Dusit Jaul as its special functions officer in Sarawak.

The appointment was announced by the minister Gobind Singh Deo, who was here on an official visit to the state.

?As a special functions officer, I report direct to the minister,? Dusit said when contacted today.

He said he has been tasked to oversee all the agencies in Sarawak under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

The agencies are state RTM, state Information Department, national news agency (Bernama) and state Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

It is believed that the appointment of special functions officer is the first to be made by the ministry in Sarawak.

Dusit, who retired as a senior programme coordinator with the state National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN), met with Gobind Singh Deo yesterday afternoon.

Dusit, who is the president of the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association, is the second Dayak professional to be appointed by the Pakatan Harapan federal government for an important post in the state.

The first was management consultant Dr John Brian Anthony as Bintulu Port Authority chairman last year.

Source: Malay Mail

3,217 affordable homes for Sarawak this year

SIBU: The federal Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) aims to build 3,217 affordable houses in Sarawak and 8,336 in Sabah this year, said minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

She added that under the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK-11) Mid-term Review for 2019-2020 which was tabled by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 18 last year, the government promised to build 7,000 affordable houses in Sabah and Sarawak.

?For the 11th Malaysia Plan, Sarawak?s applications totalled 20,742,? she said when contacted.

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Gunung Capital signs MoU to manage oil estate in Sarawak

Gunung Capital Bhd has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Jendala Padu Sdn Bhd to jointly work on improving the yield of the Pandan Land Bintulu Palm Oil Estate.

Additionally, the solutions derived from the MoU will provide a basis for a project management contract to manage the oil palm estate on a long-term basis, Gunung Capital said in filing today.

Jendala Padu had entered into a lease agreement in 2016 with AML Enterprises Sdn Bhd and JP Nominees Holdings Sdn Bhd to lease both a palm oil estate and the biological assets attached until March 31, 2040. The estate is located in Bintulu, Sarawak.

The agreement will see both parties develop strategies to improve the yield of biological assets on the land, which may also include commodity hedging strategies and other financial instruments to protect yields against commodity price fluctuations.

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Lina Soo?s shooting star

In the 14th General Elections, Sarawak State Reform Party (STAR) did not win in the three parliamentary seats it contested. Neither did it win any seats in the Sarawak state elections held in 2016. The party contested in 11 seats with all the candidates losing their deposits garnering an average of less than 2% of votes cast in each seat, including Lina Soo.

She received 331 votes in the state seat of Batu Lintang, a constituency of 28,000 voters and which is currently held by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). Lina did however improve on her 2011 performance in the same seat where she received 290 votes.

This is important as although she gives the impression of representing all Sarawakians, her voice and the voice of her party should not be seen as being representative of Sarawakians as a whole. STAR itself has only 5,000 members. The population of Sarawak is just over 2.5 million. Needless to say, the majority of Sarawakians are not taken up by her or her party?s empty rhetoric and ?syiok sendiri? politics.  

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Sarawak government?s moves hurting its own people

Sarawak again proved that it wants to be exclusive by not enforcing the smoking ban at all eateries. Under the ban, anyone caught smoking at the prohibited areas could face a fine of RM10,000, while any eatery found not complying with the ban could be fined RM2,500. The smoking ban is Malaysia?s commitment as a member state of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adhering to the guidelines under Article 8 of the World Health Organisation.

While the ban came into effect on January 1st 2019 throughout Malaysia, the Sarawak Health Department will call for a meeting with various stakeholders on Jan 9 to discuss the ban. It must be a world?s first for a government health department to abstain from imposing a ban that might actually improve the health of its citizens.

Despite the announcement by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to enforce the smoking ban next month, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said Sarawak has its own Local Government Ordinance to adhere to and stressed this is ?part of our own autonomy?.

This move towards autonomy coincides with Sarawak?s decision to impose a 5% sales tax on all petroleum product exports from the state starting from January 1st 2019 that would make these products more expensive and hence less competitive in the open marketplace.

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Royalty can wait, fiscal health more important

In Sarawak, it appears state patriotism trumps economics and common sense. Economists from across the government and private sector are saying the  government should restore its fiscal health and weigh the implications on Petroliam Nasional Bhd?s (Petronas) balance sheet first before fulfilling the request of oil-producing states for an increase in royalty payments.

Petronas is already burdened with the RM30 billion extra dividend (which goes to all states) to worry about additional royalty payments. According to Sunway University Business School Professor of Economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng royalty payments can wait another two to three years. He highlighted that a higher royalty payment will jeopardise Petronas? balance sheet and reduce its capacity to refund services tax and income tax refunds. This could have a knock on effect on companies which need cash flow to run their businesses.

All businesses get the refund even those from Sarawak and other oil producing states and unless the states have got a clear cut plan on what to do with the additional royalty payments, these can wait.

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Sarawak Energy-Shell sign MoU to explore green tech

State-owned power provider Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shell MDS (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (SMDS) to explore green technology for Sarawak.

Under the MoU, both will work together in assessing potential opportunities in lower cost hydrogen production technology via electrolysis.

The MoU also includes a joint study and knowledge exchange on hydrogen production technology, education and drawing up best practices as well as assessing opportunities for green certification in hydrogen production.

SEB group chief executive officer Datuk Sharbini Suhaili said the MoU follows the construction of SEB?s pilot hydrogen production plant and refuelling station scheduled to be ready in time for a test run of three hydrogen-powered buses due to arrive here by the first quarter of next year.

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Petronas hostel taking shape in Balambangan

(Kudat) Construction has begun on a hostel funded by Petronas to improve access to education among Sabahan students in the remote area of Balambangan Island, off Kudat, and once completed it is expected to improve attendance in school among students in the area.

The hostel is one of two education infrastructure projects announced by Petronas last year under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, to improve access to education among Sabahan students. The other is the construction of a Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Ranau, which is scheduled to begin soon, near the Ranau Sports Complex.

The 120-bed facility, known as Asrama Harian Luar Bandar, is being built within SK Balambangan Banggi’s compound to provide pupils with a place to stay throughout the week during school days.

The school’s senior administration assistant, Abdul Basith Iman Goy said it was difficult for the pupils, about 90 of them, to come to school especially during bad weather, and at times, attendance drop to as low as 20 students because of the difficulties of getting to school.

“They have to walk for hours or ride boats to reach school. Imagine children as young as six having to go through such obstacles daily.

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Integrity, not ignorance needed in Sarawak Oil Royalty debate

Malaysia is currently one of the largest oil & gas producing nations in Asia, producing about 720,000 barrels of oil per day in 2017 accounting for about 9.8% of Asia?s oil production and 73 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in 2017 – the highest in South East Asia.

So, it took me and other industry professionals by surprise when a Sarawak politician was reported recently saying that Sarawak produces ?850,000 barrels of oil per day?. Taking the price at US$77 per barrel, that translates to RM250 million per day or RM96 billion per year. With flawed numbers and a simplistic logic, she suggested that Sarawak should receive RM96 billion per year instead of the RM1.6 billion it gets.

Whether the figure was misquoted or misreported, as a self-proclaimed ?custodian? of Sarawak?s rights, she of all people should know the facts before propagating these false information online. It is just impossible for Sarawak to produce more oil than the whole of Malaysia. With a consistent production of roughly 700,000 barrels of oil per day, Sarawak is not the largest producer of Malaysia?s oil, it is currently Sabah at about 60%.

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