KUCHING, Aug 2 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg last night expressed his confidence the state government will take over Bintulu Port and MASwings Sdn Bhd within three to six months, sometime this year.
He said these two are among the three matters that Sarawak wants to take over this year, but are still under discussion with the federal government.
“But I won’t disclose the third matter that is being discussed. You just wait,” he told reporters after attending the fifth anniversary dinner of the Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas) here.
He added that he will announce the acquisition of the third matter as he does not want the media to miss out on the details.
Earlier in his speech, the premier said that ‘there is something I want to take from the federal government within three to six months of this year.
He said the negotiation on these matters are in progress.
“These (three matters) will complete the ecosystem of our economy,” he said, adding that the state’s future is bright based on the projected high economic growth and the increase in the household income.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Loke had on July 20 said his ministry had initiated a working committee as a follow-up to his meeting with Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah on the takeover of Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd, the country’s main liquefied natural gas port.
Uggah, who is also the state minister of infrastructure and port development, had said the state government wanted Bintulu Port to be part of the cluster of state ports, under a Central Port Authority which will be incorporated by state law.
He had said that the plan to take over Bintulu Port was to improve and enhance the efficiency of port services, port security through the installation of vessel traffic management system, aids to navigation facility, crane, dredging works and exploring new business opportunities.
The federal and Sarawak governments also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on July 20 to pave the way for Sarawak to manage rural air services (RAS) in East Malaysia.
Loke said the takeover of the RAS would depend on the conclusion of the negotiation between Sarawak government and Khazanah Nasional Bhd on taking over MASwings.
The Sarawak Transport Ministry and Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) reached an agreement on July 25 to ensure a smooth acquisition process of MASwings Sdn Bhd by the Sarawak government without disrupting the operation of rural air services (RAS).
Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said that the agreement was reached when he led a Sarawak delegation to a meeting with the group in Petaling Jaya.