Govt mulls Tg Manis-Samalaju rail link

MUKAH: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the government is considering building railway tracks connecting Tanjung Manis in Mukah division with Samalaju in Bintulu to enhance transportation facilities within Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area.

Taib said this in his speech at the official opening ceremony of Mukah New Administration Centre here last Saturday.

Taib was the guest-of-honour at the ceremony also attended by his wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Mukah MP Dato Sri Dr Muhammed Leo Michael Toyad, Federal Secretary Datuk Mohd Yahaya Basimin, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Regional Corridor of Development Authority (Recoda) CEO Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandut, Juara Cahaya Sarawak Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Datin Paduka Zaleha Ismail, Mukah Resident Saudi Narani, heads of government departments and corporate figures.

“There is a need to have railway link to support development of heavy industries and halal hub located at Tanjung Manis, Mukah and Samalaju in Bintulu within SCORE, to transport palm oil, sago, aluminium and other industrial products in bulk efficiently,” said Taib stating further that a feasibility study will be conducted by end of this year.

Taib also disclosed that the acquaculture industry in Tanjung Manis Halal Hub, covering an area of some 40,000 ha, will use modern technology to produce halal food, especially gelatin from fish and marine products.

Taib estimated that Tanjung Manis Halal Hub has the potential to produce about RM5 billion worth of halal products to meet the increasing demand from Muslim and non-Muslim markets in the world, including Asia, Europe, USA and Middle East countries.

Taib also disclosed that Sarawak will continue to harness the potential of producing electricity from dams (hydro energy sources) to save costs in view of rising oil prices as well as utilising more than half billion tonnes of the state’s coal reserves to produce electricity to power its industries and households and using any surplus (of electricity) to power the proposed railway project.

Taib was confident that SCORE initiatives would also spur property development along the coastal areas stretching from Tanjung Manis to Mukah, Balingian, Tatau and Samalaju in Bintulu.

Stressing that SCORE emphasises niche developments to create more than 1.5 million jobs to create a high-income society by 2030, Taib called on parents to send their children to university and technical training institutions to produce quality human capital to become managers, professionals and skilled workers capable of propelling Sarawak towards greater heights of development and progress.

Taib also commended the contractors of Mukah New Administration Centre, which was completed about eight months ahead of schedule. The RM130 million intelligent building with about 21,500 square metres of floor area on a 15-acre site will accommodate Recoda headquarters, two banks and some government offices.

Additionally, Taib also launched phase 2 of Mukah Biotech Economic Zone located on a 20-acre site adjacent to the Mukah New Administrative Centre, to be undertaken by the same contractor — Juara Cahaya Sarawak Sdn Bhd.

Taib also announced that the government will conduct a study on smart city concept for Mukah end of this year.

He declared that heavy industries, halal hub, agriculture plantation and eco-tourism are vital components of development under SCORE.

The Borneo Post – Gaing Kunding | 11 April 2011

Sarawak’s railway dream

KUCHING: A railway system for Sarawak now looks set to be realised within the next 15 to 20 years.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, who is also Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication, yesterday held a discussion with Deputy Minister of Transport Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri on the possibility of building the railway system.

Speaking to reporters later, Jabu said the federal government, represented by Rahim, had responded positively to the idea.

He also said the railway system is now at planning stage, and could be included in the proposal of projects from Sarawak in the 10th Malaysia Plan or 11th Malaysia Plan.

“The first priority for the railway system, as mentioned by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, will be in the areas under SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy).

“The locations have yet to be identified, but because of the intensification of activities within SCORE area, priority will be on the transportation of goods and bulk cargo from the industries to the other areas,” he said.

Jabu said the railway system may also link the ports of Bintulu, Similajau and Tanjung Manis, all of which will be the entry and exit points for materials and products either going in or out of industries in SCORE.

He also did not dismiss the possibility of the railway system to be the next public transportation for Sarawak, although he was quick to stress that the main priority would still be on transportation of goods and cargo.

Rahim, a Sabahan, welcomed the plan by Sarawak to have its own railway system.

He said he hoped to see the two East Malaysian states to be eventually linked by railway in the near future in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

He said the linking act would be a logical move because Sabah already has its own railway system that now runs for about 200km.

“In respect of railway transport, I think this is the area which Sabah and Sarawak can look at. Because in many developed countries, railway transport system is always the backbone of the main transportation system, whether it is in Europe, China, India, America or Australia.

“For the future of land transportation system in the land of Borneo, I think it is good to have initial planning. As you know, our Trans-Borneo road is more or less completed, but the railway system can facilitate the movement of goods between the states, and eventually will be linked to the southern part of Borneo.

“It is good to have this sort of beginning. Maybe in the next 15 to 20 years there will be a lot of development towards this effect,” he said.

Foreseeing a railway system connecting Sabah and Sarawak within the next 100 years, he said rail services were proven to be a cheaper mode of transport, more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Relating the Sabah experience, he said the Sabah State Railway, a state-owned agency, recently received RM400 million from the federal government to upgrade its services.

The railway in Sabah runs through Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort and Tenom.

To another question, he said it would be up to Sarawak to decide if its railway system would be funded by the federal or the state governments.

He added that it would also take a lot of political will to get the idea realised within the soonest time possible.

The Borneo Post – Samuel Aubrey | 6 August 2009

Sarawak to build railway network

BINTULU: Sarawak is to embark on a pioneer project to build a railway network, the first ever railway project in this vast state.

The railway project will have a dual purpose – to provide a relatively cheaper yet reliable form of mass transportation for the people, and to facilitate the movement of raw materials and goods for the construction of the projects that will be carried out in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Tuesday said a railway system is the most viable and cheapest form of fast transportation for massive bulk of both goods and people.

”This will be the first railway in Sarawak. The main area involved will span the (320km) stretch between Similajau in Bintulu Division and Tanjung Manis in Mukah division. That area comprises 57% of Sarawak.

”The rail project will be a viable alternative of transportation in view of the constantly rising costs of fuel and other costs.

”The SCORE project will bring tremendous benefits and opportunities, not only in terms of industries, but also other spin-offs for the people of the state,” he said at the state-level Conference of District officers and Residents held in this gas capital of Sarawak.

Taib, who is also the state’s 1st Finance Minister and state’s 1st Minister for Planning and Resources Management, however, did not disclose the cost of the railway project nor the date for the project to commence.

He said the Government will be spending some RM67bil to develop the basic infrastructure needed for SCORE to proceed.

”We have now obtained up to RM300bil in investment pledges. The majority will be from private sectors,” he said.

Taib said the SCORE project will also see the development of the coal industry, which Sarawak has more than one billion tonnes in reserve.

He noted that up to 20,000 MWs of power will be developed within the next 30 years and during that period, Sarawak will be able to provide cheap and efficient electricity to the people in the state and country.

A RM1.5bil plant to produce halal food will also be constructed in the region, he added.

”The Federal Government had already allocated RM3bil to the state to kickstart SCORE,” he said.

The Borneo Post –  Stephen Then | 9 July 2008