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New airport site to be moved to make way for oil, road projects

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Posted by Philip Kiew from Borneo Post Online on February 5, 2020, Wednesday at 12:01 AM

Awang Tengah, with his wife Datuk Dayang Morliah Awang Daud on his left, strikes the traditional Chinese drum to mark the start of the festivities

LAWAS: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan says the Sarawak government will move the site of the proposed new Lawas Airport to facilitate the implementation of proposed US$5-billion integrated oil refinery project and construction of the coastal road.

“We want to adjust the site of the new airport as this huge investment project will change Lawas, but the site should not be too near the airport,” he spoke at a Chinese New Year celebration in Lawas Indoor Stadium on Monday night.

Awang Tengah, who is also Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development, said the refinery would be a gamechanger for Lawas and northern Sarawak.

“It will generate lots of economic spin-offs, downstream industries, and business opportunities apart from other infrastructure developments,” said the Bukit Sari assemblyman.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg led a delegation to Hainan, China last November for a two-day fact-finding trip to the Sinopec oil refining facility in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone.

Sinopec Engineering Inc, which signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a technology provider with the developer, Beijing BECA Sci-Tech Co Ltd in June 2018, indicated that the feasibility study had now entered the phase of designing the processing unit of the facility sited on a 700-hectare piece of land here.

Back on the new Lawas Airport, Awang Tengah said the proposed site and the project had been approved earlier by the government under Barisan Nasional (BN), but the present administration under Pakatan Harapan (PH) had deferred its implementation and also the Limbang-Lawas stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway development.

The state government, under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ruling coalition, decided to build this link under the coastal road project linking Miri to Lawas, passing Brunei, and also linking the proposed site of the refinery and new airport near Bukit Sari, where a deep sea port had also been proposed.

The new airport would be developed under the supervision of the Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA).

Awang Tengah pointed out that Sarawak was taking a leaf from the success story of China, where the government first developed good infrastructures in roads, rails, ports, airports and telecommunications to speed up its socio-economic transformation.

On politics, he called upon the Chinese community here to stand united and ensure political stability in the state under the leadership of Abang Johari.

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