KUCHING, Oct 19 ― A feasibility study by a state steering committee has shown Sarawak has the potential leverage on the biomass industry and generate RM4.8 billion gross national income, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.
He added that 30,000 jobs and RM18 billion in investment opportunities could also be generated throughout the entire biomass value chain.
“The study has helped us to gauge the real biomass volumes available, the cost and eventually the mix of potential sustainable downstream activities that benefit the state, creating real social and economic impact,” he said at the opening of the two-day International Biomass Conference Malaysia here.
The 2015 study, led by the State Planning Unit, was initiated to understand biomass opportunities for Sarawak.
Abang Johari's speech was read by his deputy Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
Among those present at the opening ceremony were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, ambassador and head of delegation from the European Union Maria Castillo Fernandez, ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia Dr Yu Hyun-seok and ambassador-designate of the Netherlands to Malaysia, Karin Mossenlecher.
The chief minister said Sarawak has plans to diversify its economy through bio-economy, with biomass as an integral part.
“As such, a detailed roadmap and an action plan will be implemented by a federal-state taskforce led by State Planning Unit,” he said, adding that Sarawak is very committed towards the aspiration to become the regional biomass processing hub for downstream biomass activities.
“With Malaysia’s multi biomass feedstock proposition, geographic location, established infrastructure, facilities and amenities from existing industries like oil and gas and forestry, we are well positioned to carve a niche in the industry,” he said.
The chief minister said the new biomass-based industries will not only create additional income for Sarawak, but will also generate high-income paying jobs for its people.