LAWAS (Nov 7): A deepwater port could be a game-changer for Lawas, pushing it to become a regional economic hub and investment magnet.

In stating this, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan regarded the proposed facility at Pulau Sari, along with the new Lawas Airport project, as key to the strategic plan of turning this district into a thriving economic and logistics centre that could also serve areas beyond its borders.

These projects are expected to take off next year, he added.

“There is a great potential for this deepwater port, whereby the studies undertaken by Recoda (Regional Corridor Development Authority) and a federal government agency have indicated that it’s feasible as the draught level is about 24m to 25m.

“Moreover, dredging is not required here,” he said during a 15th general election (GE15) campaign drive at Kampung Punang here on Saturday night, meant to garner support for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) candidate for Lawas, Datuk Henry Sum Agong, who is seeking re-election for his sixth term as MP.

Awang Tengah, also Minister of International Trade and Investment Sarawak, viewed Lawas as being strategically located in Borneo and in relation to this, he said plans were in the pipeline to make it an international gateway for the neighbouring East Kalimantan where the new Indonesian capital Nusantara would be established.

He also listed the oil and gas industry, the northern coastal highway and Sabah-Sarawak Link Road as among those set under the development plans for Lawas.

On the Lawas Airport project, Awang Tengah said the Phase I works should kick off early next year/

“If all these components fall into place, they would enable us to attract investors, both for FDI (foreign direct investment) and DDI (domestic direct investment), to Lawas.

“Integration of the evolving industrial development, which includes oil and gas, tourism and other sectors, into Lawas development master plan is required, and a consultant has been roped in to put forward the recommendations.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Premier called upon the voters to support Henry so that all the development plans for Lawas and its people, the fight for Sarawak’s rights and measures to ensure a brighter future for the younger generation, would continue on.

In his remarks Henry, currently the caretaker deputy minister of transport, said the deepwater port at Pulau Sari mentioned by Awang Tengah, upon being realised, would help reduce the cost of transportation of goods into Lawas.

“At the moment, we still have to transport goods such construction piles and materials via the ports in Sabah, send them into lorries and bring them to Lawas.

“This deepwater port could lower the logistic costs and expedite the delivery of goods,” he pointed out.

Henry also said he would do his best in becoming ‘a bridge’ between Sarawak and the federal government to ‘realise the dreams of Lawas, meant to benefit its people, particularly the younger generation’. -Source: The Borneo Post