Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sarawak Budget 2013 good overall, says Soon Koh

GOOD BUDGET: Wong talking to the press after the tabling of Budget 2013.
KUCHING: The state’s allocation of 69 per cent of Budget 2013 for development expenditure and the remaining 31 per cent for operating expenditure reflected the government’s intention to better distribute resources for development of the rural areas.
Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh opined that the development biased budget would also be good for the education sector.
“We have been trying our best to manage our finances in the most efficient, prudent, and responsible manner,” he said when approached by reporters for comments on Budget 2013 which was tabled by Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud yesterday.

SENIOR CABINET MINISTERS: (From left) Senior Ministers Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang arrive at the State Legislative Assembly to attend the Budget 2013 tabling by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

ROCKET TEAM: The assemblymen and assemblywomen from state Democratic Action Party (DAP) in a photo call after the state Budget 2013 tabling by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

TIME FOR A LAUGH: Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom (right) having a light moment with Democratic Action Party (DAP) elected representatives (from left) Fong Pau Teck (Pujut), David Wong Kee Woan (Pelawan) and its state chairman Wong Ho Leng (Bukit Assek).

IN WAITING MODE: Media personnel covering the state Budget 2013 tabling mingle at the lobby of the State Legislative Assembly. They are waiting to interview the assemblymen and assemblywomen.

FIRST DAY SITTING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen (right) followed by Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) Pelagus assemblyman George Lagong (left) arriving at the DUN yesterday.

EARLY BIRDS: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Samariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali arriving for the DUN sitting.
Wong, who is also Minister of Local Government and Community Development, said this was also the 10th consecutive year that the state’s credit rating position is maintained at A3 by Moody’s and A- by Standard and Poor’s.
“No other state in the country is subjected to this international rating. With such high rating, there will be a great deal of confidence in the part of foreign investors to come to the state,” he said, adding that the budget was a good one overall.
Asked whether the recent setback involving Sanmina-SCI Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd would affect the state’s foreign direct investment (FDI) attractiveness, Wong said the incident was a different case altogether when compared to what’s happening at the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).
He explained that the volume of foreign demand and supply facing high tech industries were different to the heavy and downstream industries operating in SCORE.
Sanmina-SCI, a global electronic contract manufacturer, recently retrenched more than 800 employees here in its effort to reduce cost by moving its operation to a new facility at Wuxi, China.
Taib, in tabling the budget, said private investment activities were expected to remain at 5.9 per cent this year, driven by the government’s strategies to lead the private sector spearhead business activities deemed beneficial to the state.
“Undeniably, growth in investments is due to the government’s ability to provide a favourable investment environment.
“This is done through conscious efforts to put in place essential infrastructure facilities, improve public sector delivery system, and continuing with its on-going initiatives to attract foreign and local investments, particularly to SCORE,” said Taib, who is also Finance Minister and Minister of Resource Planning and Environment.
He added that the strong growth in private investments in the first half of this year could be seen in several key investment indicators. These included the importation of capital and intermediate goods that grew by 10.3 per cent and 19.4 per cent respectively during this period.
The anticipated progress of SCORE and implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme would further boost investor confidence.
“Hence, private investments are expected to expand by 10.4 per cent in 2013.”

by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith Posted on November 20, 2012, Tuesday

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SME are the most flexible arm of our economic community - YAB Pehin Sri

Aid to continue for SMEs

by Lee Ya Yun, Posted on November 17, 2012, Saturday

LEAVING A MARK: Taib signs on a board to declare open the new Kubah Ria Complex as Ragad, Jabu (second left), Masing (left), Talib (right) and others look on. — Photos by Kong Jun Liung
Flexibility of small and medium scale enterprises a boon to state’s economy
“Ibarat anak bongsu yang perlu lebih banyak dibantu berbanding anak sulung dalam sebuah keluarga, be­gitu juga pendekatan kita ambil dalam menambah dan memajukan bilangan peniaga Bumiputera,” jelas YAB Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud..

KUCHING: The state government will continue to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as its ability to survive in an economic crisis will continue to put the state’s economy in a resilient and flexible position.
Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud explained yesterday that even though SMEs would most likely be hit during economic downturns, the sector would bounce back when the economic storm passed.
“Small and medium scale businessmen are the most flexible arm of our economic community. We want that
flexibility to exist because of the behaviour of the modern economy,” he said at the opening of the new Kubah Ria Complex at Jalan Matang here.
“There is always a business cycle, up and down, crises and boom, and that is the way we expand.
“We take the development of SMEs as one of the best ways to make our business community resilient.”
Taib added that the need to continue helping SMEs was also driven by population pattern, adding that SMEs could serve the remotest corners of the state.
He assured that the state government would not practise favouritism when providing assistance to SMEs.
“Although Sarawak SEDC had been entrusted to help Bumiputera entrepreneurs, we do help non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs as well because in the development of business we can’t separate Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras,” Taib said.
He said the key reason the government was giving Bumiputera entrepreneurs an extra push was because they started relatively late in business compared with non-Bumiputeras.
“It is always our vision for Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras to work together. We always believe that Bumiputeras could learn good business practices from non-Bumiputeras,” he said.
“We will continue to help SMEs, irrespective of whether Bumiputera or non-Bumiputera ones, because SMEs play a great role in improving our economy.”
On a related matter, Taib opined that an entrepreneur’s attitude determine the success of his or her business.
Likening an entrepreneur to a driver, he said the ability of a businessperson to get to the desired destination largely depended on his/her driving skill.
Apart from the need to have a correct attitude, entrepreneur should have the initiative to equip themselves with relevant knowledge in order to stay competitive.
“More importantly, you must provide good and quality services to customers so that they would come back again. You need to be sensitive to change and adapt to change.”
Assistant Minister of Tourism and SEDC chairman, Datuk Talib Zulpilip, who also spoke, said the new Kubah Ria Complex had a total of 93 units, of which 44 are food stalls.
This RM22.3 million project was completed on August 2010.
The new Kubah Ria Complex, he added, came about following the redevelopment of the old Kubah Ria premises which was built in 1983 with a total of 59 units.
The new complex, which is equipped with modern facilities, is aimed at providing a better business environment for local entrepreneurs, with the hope of increasing their revenue.
Also present were Taib’s wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, and State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Labuan depriving Sarawak of oil & gas jobs?

Labuan Shipyard hopes to become regional leader

BECOMING REGIONAL: LSE is considering to collaborate with over20 small fabricators currently operating in Labuan by allowing them to use the company’s yard.
LABUAN: Labuan Shipyard Engineering Sdn Bhd (LSE), which has one of the largest and most well-equipped shipyards in Southeast Asia, is upbeat on prospects of becoming a regional leader in the oil and gas and fabrication sector.
Its chief executive officer, Mohd Azman Nasir, said LSE was now marketing its services internationally, with the focus on India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Middle East.
“We are bidding for jobs in these countries in line with our mission to go international. With the inclusion of Sapuracrest on board, we are now able to bid for mega jobs in these countries,” he told Bernama here yesterday.
SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd’s unit, SapuraCrest Ventures Sdn Bhd, has acquired a 50 per cent stake in LSE. Petra Energy Bhd’s wholly-owned unit, Petra Resources Sdn Bhd, has also signed a memorandum of understanding with LSE for the proposed utilisation of the latter’s shipyard facilities at Victoria Harbour, Labuan.
“Apart from Petra Energy, we are also working with Kencana Petroleum Bhd.LSE is open to partnerships with others also,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Azman said, LSE was also considering collaborating with over 20 small fabricators currently operating in Labuan by allowing them to use the company’s yard.
“Some small fabricators are now operating in small workshops and some of them have declined jobs as they are not able to carry our big jobs due to their capabilities.
“They have good network and connection and we have invited them to undertake their jobs in our yard,” he said.
Mohd Azman said LSE would focus on its core fabrication business before venturing into other fields.
“What I want to do now is to make sure LSE is on the right track with the right partners and after that we will diversify,” he said.
He said Labuan would soon become a premier oil and gas centre in the region with the support of the federal government coupled with the discovery of new oil fields off Sabah waters.
“The development of oil and gas in Labuan has greatly helped supporting industries on the island.
“And the booming of this sector has positioned our yard in the right place and at the right time,” he said.
Mohd Azman said LSE would focus on human capital development in view of the development of the sector.
He said apart from fabrication, LSE has the capacity to build and repair hundreds ships a year.
“We are headhunting for people with skills and experiences all over the country and are taking part in job fairs and exhibitions,” he said. — Bernama

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Singapre set to exploit the most in increase of demand for gas in Asia

Demand for gas in Asia to increase


ACTIVE DIVERSIFICATION: Teo says the long-term outlook for gas market is also strong as countries diversify their energy sources by seeking alternatives to oil and coal, and are switching to cleaner fuels like petrol gas. — Reuters photo

SINGAPORE: The demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) is expected to increase in Asia, and Singapore is set to tap the significant market growth, says International Enterprise (IE) Singapore chief executive officer Teo Eng Cheong.
“For the growth of Asia’s LNG industry to remain strong, the marketplace needs a dynamic environment. As Asia’s top oil hub, Singapore is well positioned to also be the regional hub for LNG.
“Today, Singapore is the gateway to key LNG markets.
“More than 400 petroleum and petroleum trading companies are already based here,” he said in his address at the opening of the World LNG Series: Asia Pacific Summit here yesterday.
Teo said while Singapore may not be a major LNG consumer or supplier, it had seen strong and steady growth in its LNG trading sector in recent years.
Shell was among the first energy majors to establish LNG marketing and trading activities in Singapore while other key players include BP, BG Group and Gazprom.
Teo said more energy companies have also started new LNG trading businesses here.
“Just this year, we witnessed new entrants to the cluster, including Gunvor, Vitol, and PetroChina.
“We are very encouraged by this progress.
“It showcases the potential of the LNG industry in playing a greater role in contributing to Singapore’s economy.”
“Many projects that are set to boost the growth of our LNG eco-system are already in the pipeline,” he said, adding that the construction of Singapore’s first LNG terminal is on track to commence commercial operations by mid-2013.
As the government agency responsible for promoting the republic’s trade, Teo said IE Singapore will continue to work with interested players to facilitate entry and growth of their operations in Singapore.
Teo said the long-term outlook for gas market was also strong as countries were diversifying their energy sources by seeking alternatives to oil and coal, and are switching to cleaner fuels like petrol gas.
By 2030, he said natural gas demand is projected to increase by 60 per cent to overtake coal in the global energy mix, to become the second most dominant source of energy globally.
He also pointed the global use of nuclear as an energy source has slowed significantly since Japan was hit by a tsunami and earthquake in March.
Most of the future action, he said would be seen in emerging markets.
He said 80 per cent of the growth is expected to be in non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries by 2035, largely driven by the emerging economies of Asia.
China’s demand for natural gas alone is projected to grow more than five times from the current 20 billion cubic metres to 110 billion cubic metres by 2015.
He said while South-East Asia was traditionally a LNG exporting region, with no importers, this was expected to change by 2015.
Teo said 10 LNG import terminals with a total import capacity of some 34 billion cubic metres were possibly coming online in the region.
Several recent trends further underscored Asia’s role in the evolution of the global LNG market.
He said Asia’s LNG demand surged strongly after the 2008 financial crisis.
It is expected to grow faster than supply in the coming years.
The supply situation is only expected to ease after 2015, when more LNG production projects and supply options come on-stream. — Bernama