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Madius: Sabah needs dams

Tangau and Limus (centre) along with Beaufort UPKO delegates giving the thumbs up.

12th September, 2018


KUALA PENYU: Sabah’s economy will not develop without dams that generate cheap electricity and sufficient treated water.

Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said that although having several industrial parks, the state has not been able to attract investors due to the lack of the two basic requirements and the absence of main shipping players.

Despite having resources such as crude palm oil, petroleum and gas and timber, he said that the state does not have downstream industries to process the commodities into finished goods, thus depriving the people of job opportunities and source of income.

“Our gross domestic product (GDP) is the third lowest in Sabah, and compared to Sarawak, ours is much lower at RM19,000 against Sarawak’s RM44,000 per capita,” he told reporters when met at the Beaufort UPKO triennial meeting here yesterday.

According to Tangau who is also Trade and Industry Minister, Sabah’s challenge in attracting investors is providing what investors want, i.e. cheap electricity and sufficient water supply because the people have been rejecting the government’s plans to build dams and coal-fired power plant.

He said that Sabah is producing electricity at the cost of RM0.40 per kilo Watt hour (kWh) and is only able to sell it to industries at RM0.34 per kWh while Sarawak is generating it at RM0.06 per kWh and selling it as low as RM0.09 per kWh.

The price of electricity in Sabah, he said, is too high for investors who would only consider to come if the state can lower it to RM0.16 per kWh.

“Sarawak can generate electricity at much lower cost because they have many dams including Bakun which generates 2,500 MW, Murum and Baleh which generate more than 1,000 MW each.

“Therefore, is we want Sabah to progress in terms of manufacturing industry, the people need to support the government in its development plan. We need dams which produces electricity and water.

“Sarawak’s manufacturing industry contributes some 20 per cent to the state’s GDP while in Sabah it has been 7.5 per cent for many years. We need to increase that to 35 per cent to be a developed economy.

“We are currently relying heavily on service industry which is tourism that contributes some 40 per cent to the state’s GDP. But tourism is very sensitive,” he added.

Tangau also said that the lack of main shipping players in Sabah has also hindered investors from the state despite the repeal of the cabotage policy in 2016.

He said that main shipping companies would only operate in Sabah if the state can produce at least 500,000 containers annually, a far cry from the current 180,000.

“Manufacturers want their goods to be shipped directly to their customers without having to stop in Port Klang or Singapore, but main shipping companies are not interested in Sabah market due to its small volume.

“Therefore, we need to increase our export,” he said, adding that when Sabah is able to export large volume of goods, it would also help increase the state’s commodity prices. Also present was Kuala Penyu Assemblyman, Datuk Limus Jury.

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