Greater say over natural resource

KUCHING: The newly-launched Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) will spearhead Sarawak’s participation in the strategic oil & gas sector and boost the state’s development.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state-owned oil and gas company must build on its presence in Sarawak to grow and deliver sustainable economic benefits while safeguarding the state’s interests and resources.

“I believe it is important for Petros to be strong, effective and efficient in performing its mandated roles.

“Accordingly, Petros is required to seek guidance from the Sarawak government for broad policy direction in the execution of its strategic roles and responsibilities,” he said when launching the company.

Abang Johari added the state government would issue guidelines to Petros to ensure greater and more meaningful participation by Sarawakians and Sarawak companies in the oil & gas industry.

He said the state government also wanted to see Petros work together with Petronas in the upstream and downstream sectors of the industry.

“Both companies can contribute significantly towards the advancement of the oil and gas industry in Malaysia and the economic progress and prosperity of our nation,” he said.

During the launch, the Chief Minister named Saau Kakok, a Bidayuh with nearly 40 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, as Petros’ chief executive officer.

Saau’s last position was vice-president for Asia at a United States-based independent oil company.

“Petros is fortunate to gain Saau’s experience, talent and vision. I am confident that he is the right person to lead Petros into the future, adding value to the careers of young Sarawakians while making Petros the best place to work,” Abang Johari said.

Earlier Petros chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo said the company’s vision was to be a major player in exploiting and utilising energy resources.

“We see our role eventually as an active, fully integrated oil and gas operator across the value chain – upstream, midstream as well as downstream.

“We also see Petros as the catalyst for fuelling Sarawak’s growth by developing and utilising the state’s oil and gas resources domestically.”

Hamid also said Petros planned to collaborate with other companies in the industry and several proposals were in the pipeline.

“I hope players in the oil and gas industry will not regard Petros as a disruptive competitor but as a facilitator and collaborator, a government-linked entity that sees value in working together.”

Hamid added that Saau would join Petros in April while all essential staff would be recruited by the end of the year.


Sarawak spells out rules on O&G ops and activities

State to assume full regulatory authority by July

KUCHING: Sarawak will assume full regulatory authority over the upstream and downstream operations and activities of the oil and gas (O&G) industry by July this year.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said all companies or persons involved in the O&G industry must henceforth have the necessary licences, leases and approvals required either under the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 or Sarawak Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016.

“In other words, their operations and activities are required to comply with all state laws, including those related to the use and occupation of land,” he added when launching state-owned Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) here on Tuesday night.

However, Abang Johari said the enforcement of state laws would not jeopardise the interests or investments of national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and other companies already involved in the state’s O&G industry.

Sarawak has got back control over the exploitation of O&G resources, one of the key issues and part of the ongoing broader talks on the devolution of power between the state and federal governments.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak agreed to return to Sarawak power that had been inadventently eroded over the years.

“Sarawak has the constitutional rights to issue prospecting licences and mining leases under Item 2(c) of the State List in the Federal Constitution’s Ninth Schedule.

“The federal government’s rights to develop mineral resources under Item 8(j) of the Federal List in the Ninth Schedule is subject to Item 2(c) of the State List.”

According to Abang Johari, the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 was never repealed by emergency laws when the 1969 Proclamation of Emergency was in force and annulled in 2011.

He said the state cabinet had approved a bill to amend the Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 to update the provisions and provide for better enforcement in the next session of the state legislative assembly in July.

The Gas Distribution Ordinance 2016 will come into force on July 1 this year.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said Petros would spearhead Sarawak’s participation in the strategic O&G industry to boost state development. Petros will be granted the rights to mine O&G in the state.

He also announced the appointment of Saau Kakok, a Bidayuh, with 40 years experience in the O&G industry, as Petros’ chief executive officer.

“Petros is fortunate to gain from Kakok’s experience, talent and vision. I am confident that Kakok is the right person to lead Petros into the future,” Abang Johari said.

It was earlier reported that some 40 candidates were eyeing for the Petros CEO post.

Kakok, 64, joined New York City-based exploration and production company Hess Corp as vice-president of global new business development in 2011.

He has served as a director in Hess Malaysia and Thailand Ltd, Hess Oil & Gas Sdn Bhd and Hess (Indonesia-South Sesulu) Ltd.

Kakok was Shell EP International Ltd’s vice-president from 2007 to 2009.

Petros chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo said Kakok would take up his appointment next month.

Bugo said Petros planned to have all essential staff recruited and to commence operations by the end of the year.


Don’t drop austerity mindset

Petronas tells O&G players sustainability of stronger oil price remains to be seen

WHILE the worst of the downturn in the oil and gas (O&G) industry is now over, the outlook is not blue skies. Cost is already showing signs of increasing at a worrying rate, and there is now some premature exuberance among the industry players.

Players should not drop the austerity mindset otherwise all the previous efforts from Petronas’ intensive cost-efficiency efforts over the last three years will be negated.

This was the key message that Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president and group chief executive officer Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin wanted to highlight when he presented Petronas’ stellar full year financial results to Dec 31, 2017 to a room full of reporters.

Wan Zulkiflee also emphasised that the current stronger oil price was now supported by production cuts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and non-Opec countries, hence the sustainability remains to be seen.

“Therefore, it is imperative to continue to keep costs under control, increase efficiencies and drive up value,” he said.

Certainly, oil prices have recovered remarkably since it started crashing from its high of US$110 in mid-2014. It hit its low of US$27 in January 2016, and has since been on a steady uptrend.

For the most part of 2017, oil prices hovered between the US$50 and US$65 level. Brent traded at US$64 as of press time yesterday.

Overall, Petronas announced strong financial results, both for its fourth quarter as well as its full year to Dec 31, 2017 due to stronger oil prices along with the group’s ongoing transformation efforts which focused on cost optimisation and efficiency improvements.

For the fourth quarter to Dec 31, 2017, Petronas’ profit after tax increased by 61% to RM18.2bil from RM11.3bil in the corresponding quarter last year due to higher revenue and lower net impairment on assets and well costs.

As a result, earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) was also higher by 15%, at RM25.3bil compared to RM21.9bil in the corresponding quarter last year.

The group’s revenue rose to RM61.8bil, 14% higher compared with the corresponding quarter last year. This was contributed by higher average realised prices recorded for major products and higher sales volume mainly from LNG and petroleum products, partially offset by the effect of the ringgit strengthening against the US dollar.


The positive fourth quarter results were also driven by the upward trend of key benchmark prices and better margins.

“The continued drive for higher productivity and operational excellence have placed Petronas in a stronger position to execute its long-term growth strategy. Subject to sustainability of price recovery, the group expects to deliver a satisfactory performance in the next financial year,” Wan Zulkiflee told a press conference.

Meanwhile, for the full year, Petronas’ profit after tax jumped by 91% in 2017 to RM45.5bil, compared with RM23.8bil recorded in 2016.

The increase was achieved on the back of higher revenue, lower net impairment on assets and well costs and continuous efforts to optimise costs in 2017.

The group’s revenue increased by 15% to RM223.6bil compared with RM195.1bil recorded in 2016. The increase was mainly due to higher average realised prices recorded for major products coupled with the effect of weakening of the ringgit against the US dollar. This was partially offset by lower sales volume for crude oil & condensate and petroleum products.

Cumulative 2017 ebitda rose to RM92bil compared with RM70.7bil recorded in 2016, in line with higher profits.

Ratilal: At current price levels, we have done a lot of adjustments to our asset values, and these have been done over the last three years.

Cash flows from operating activities improved to RM75.7bil, an increase of 41% from RM53.8bil in 2016.

Total assets as at Dec 31, 2017 was slightly lower at RM599.8bil compared with RM603.4bil as at Dec 31, 2016 primarily due to the impact of the ringgit strengthening against the US dollar.

Shareholders’ equity of RM389.8bil as at Dec 31, 2017 increased by RM9.4bil compared to last year mainly due to profit generated during the year.

The group’s gearing ratio remained stable at 16.1% compared to 17.4% recorded last year. Return on capital employed (ROACE) increased to 9.8% compared to 5.4% in 2016, in line with higher profits.

Capital investments for the year ended Dec 31, 2017 totalled RM44.5bil, mainly attributable to the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Johor.

Below are excerpts from the Q&A session Wan Zulkiflee had with reporters. Also present was Petronas executive vice-president and group chief financial officer Datuk George Ratilal.


Petronas paid RM16bil in dividends in 2016. What was Petronas’ dividend payment in 2017 and what is it planning to give out in 2018?

WZ: We gave out RM16bil in 2017. For 2018, we are planning to give out RM19bil in dividends


Petronas spent RM44.5bil in capex for 2017. Will this increase in 2018?

WZ: Yes, this year Petronas is planning to spend more, around RM55bil.

Oil price estimation when planning its budget:

When Petronas planned its budget and capital expenditure in 2017, it planned it based on oil prices of US$45. What is Petronas’ estimation of oil prices when it plans its budget for 2018?

WZ: We will be basing our budget similar to the Government’s budget, which is at Brent oil prices of US$52 per barrel.

Outlook for oil price in 2018:

WZ: There are many things that affect oil prices. The Opec voluntary cuts, supply and demand, and also the speculative element. As a company, we are very conservative, and our forecast is somewhat lower than current prices, and this morning Brent was US$64.

In the bigger scheme of things, we are such a small player.

I think the global demand is about 97 billion to 98 billion of barrels a day, and we produce only half a million barrels a day. So in the overall scheme of things, we are small.

Going forward, I think oil prices will be decided by the bigger players. I think we need to look at inventory levels. That is the criteria we know that we have to achieve collectively, for Opec and non-Opec countries. Based on the inventory levels, Opec will decide whether they want to continue with the production cuts.


WZ: I have been on record to say that we welcome any such state-owned bodies or business entity in the oil and gas business. We welcome their participation, as long as it is set up within the proper arrangements that have been made.

Who decides on Petros’ investments, and who will be the governing body for Petros?:

WZ: I think since this involves Petros, it is better you ask them. I don’t think I am in a position to respond for Petros.

Level of consolidation among the oil and gas players:

WZ: There have been attempts by a few industry players in Malaysia, but I think it is not as material as we had hoped for. I know its not easy. But I think going forward, we still need competitive big companies to serve the industry in Malaysia and in the region. So we are still encouraging companies to consolidate.

Petronas’ Canada project:

In 2017, one of the significant decisions made by Petronas was not to proceed with the Final Investment Decision on the Pacific North West LNG project and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project in Canada. However, Petronas will continue to evaluate options to monetise gas in Canada. So what is the status on Canada?

WZ: Yes, we are producing about 600 million standard cubic feet of gas for the local markets.

And we have world-class gas assets. The proven resources are about 23 trillion standard cubic feet. So, yes we will definitely continue to explore all options that we have to monetise this resource. This is an ongoing process.


GR: At current price levels, we have done a lot of adjustments to our asset values, and these have been done over the last three years. So if prices remain at this level, we don’t see any significant impairments. Impairments happen for two reasons – one is price levels and therefore future cashflows need to be adjusted lower.

The other reason is a breakdown in operational aspects. So that is if something happens somewhere in the business. That, we can’t quite predict. However, besides that, we don’t expect any substantial level of impairments similar to what happened in the last two years.


WZ: Today, we dont’ have any big plans for retrenchment. However, as an ongoing exercise and this is nothing new and special, we have got a process where repeated non- performers will have to leave. But this is normal and has been done for many years now.

There is now no specific programme for retrenchment.

FLNG 1 and FLNG2:

Petronas has commissioned the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) liquefaction, storage and offloading vessel – Petronas FLNG Satu – which is now operating offshore in Sarawak. What are the plans to set up a second FLNG?

WZ: FLNG 1 has delivered six cargoes, and we are happy with its performance.

FLNG 2 is now under construction. It will be in operations in 2020. We are confident that we are on track to be operational by then.


Barakah to the rescue of beleaguered Malaysian owned Otto Marine?

PETALING JAYA: The fate of financially-distressed Singapore shipping company Otto Marine Ltd, which is owned by Malaysian tycoon Datuk Seri Yaw Chee Siew, is in the hands of Barakah Offshore Petroleum Bhd .

Sources said Otto Marine was banking on getting contracts from Barakah to resuscitate its business which is on the verge of collapse.

“Barakah may even take up a stake in Otto Marine if the collaboration pans out,” said a source.

There have been reports that Otto Marine would face collapse without the intervention of Singapore courts. Based on its current cash reserves, it could probably only subsist for two more months. Otto Marine was delisted in 2016 and has been recording losses since 2011.

It appeared that Otto Marine might have secured a letter of intent from an “unidentified party” willing to invest in the firm if certain conditions were met, said Chee Siew the executive chairman, in court papers, reported by Bloomberg.

Sources said that Barakah could be the white knight.

This would make sense as the founder of Sarawak’s timber giant Samling group Tan Sri Yaw Teck Seng is the second largest shareholder of Barakah with an 11.91% stake via United Power Group Holdings Ltd. He is Chee Siew’s father.

United Power has been increasing its stake in Barakah in 2017.

Teck Seng is deemed interested by virtue of his shareholding in Yaw Holding Sdn Bhd, which owns United Power’s holding company Samling Energy Sdn Bhd.

The Samling group is one of the conglomerates in Sarawak with its main business in the plantation, forestry and property development sectors, and via Samling Energy, it has a presence in the oil and gas (O&G) sector.

Meanwhile, Chee Siew is best known in local circles as the executive chairman of Perdana Parkcity Sdn Bhd – the developer of the successful Desa ParkCity township in Kepong.

When the Samling Group started upping its stake in Barakah last year, many saw it as an entry into the O&G industry in Sarawak.

In September, Sarawak set up its own version of Petroliam Nasional Bhd – Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros). Petros is looking for a chief executive and other key officials to drive the organisation.

All O&G-related jobs in Sarawak will likely be channelled through Petros.

Barakah, which is mainly involved in the offshore pipeline service provider segment, could be a good vehicle for the Samling group.

Founder and chief executive officer Nik Hamdan Daud is the single largest shareholder with a 39% stake.

Barakah closed last Friday at 28 sen, down 61.54% on a one-year basis. At this level, it has a market cap of RM227.26mil.

For now, Barakah remains loss-making. For the nine months to Sept 30, 2017, it recorded losses of RM142.87mil from a net profit of RM10.45mil in the same period previously.

Revenue decreased to RM232.26mil from RM407.46mil duting the same period previously.

Last November, Barakah’s unit, PBJV Group Sdn Bhd, entered into a consortium agreement with Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works Corp and Samling Energy to jointly bid for O&G-related projects in Sarawak.

Upon the successful award of the contracts, the parties would enter into a specific project consortium agreement and determine the scope of work of each party, Barakah said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Brooke Dockyard is a leading marine engineering and fabrication company involved in the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of offshore O&G platforms, shipbuilding and ship repair, bridges, infrastructure, and onshore manufacturing.

Meanwhile, Samling Energy has significant investments in the O&G sector, including offshore support vessels and shipyard, and has expertise that includes transport and installation, decommissioning and drilling.

Otto Marine is among companies in the O&G services industry struggling to meet financial obligations after a plunge in crude prices.

Among its peers that have fallen are Swiber Holdings Ltd, Ezion Holdings Ltd and Ezra Holding Ltd.

Otto Marine, which is saddled with liabilities of US$877mil, is asking the Singapore High Court for protection.

The shipbuilder wants to turn around under the court’s supervision and fend off creditors while it restructures its debt, according to its Feb 20 application for judicial management, which was obtained by Bloomberg.

In the application, Chee Siew was quoted as saying: “I cannot be expected to continue shouldering the financial burden and injecting fresh capital into the company.”

Chee Siew took full control of the ailing firm in October 2016 and is the single biggest creditor with S$208mil due to him and affiliates, the papers showed.

The financial collapse of the group is imminent unless the High Court provides breathing room, he said.

According to Chee Siew, there is a reasonable probability of rehabilitating the company.


Bright chance of regaining seat

MIRI: Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties must go all out to recapture the Miri parliamentary seat in the coming 14th general election.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg noted the seat was once a Barisan stronghold but was lost to the opposition for the first time in 2013.

He said with all four component parties – Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) – now fully recovered after being embroiled in internal conflicts, the chances of winning back the Miri parliamentary seat seemed bright.

“We must win the Miri parliamentary seat so that we can develop together for the future generation,” he said at the Chinese New Year dinner organised by SUPP Miri and Sibuti parliamentary liaison committee.

Abang Johari, who is also the state Barisan chairman, said the Miri community must think rationally during GE14 as it would determine the future of Miri as well as the development of Miri division.

“All four leaders in Sarawak Barisan component parties are Sarawakians, we will protect the state’s rights based on the constitution,” he added.

Meanwhile, Miri SUPP and Sibuti Parliamentary liaison committee chairman Datuk Lee Kim Shim said the party had formed an election committee and its election machinery was ready to move once campaigning starts.

“Together with our component parties PBB, PRS and PDP, we will make sure that we wrest the Miri parliamentary seat,” he said.

On another issue, Lee who is state Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister hoped that the state government would study the possibility of turning the Miri river from Pullman Hotel to Kampung Wireless into a waterfront that could attract tourists similar to the Kuching Waterfront.

He also appealed to the chief minister to consider making Miri City the headquarters of Sarawak-owned oil and gas company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

“Miri has been the centre of the oil and gas industry for hundreds of years.

“It is hoped that Petros will play an active role in developing the oil and gas industry in Sarawak, particularly in Miri, thereby creating more jobs and opportunities for the locals,” he added. — Bernama


Bursa Malaysia well supported by fundamentals

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Bank said Bursa Malaysia is well supported by sound domestic fundamentals despite the recent sell down stoked by the Dow Jones’s correction.

The investment bank said in a 1H 2018 Market Outlook session that it expects fiscal stimulus pre-GE14 and Bank Negara’s overnight policy rate (OPR) hike to be the two main thematics driving investment 

For the longer term play, it said the focus is on multi-year orderbook replenishment in infrastructure construction, tourism and Look East Malaysia.

It added that sectors that over “overweight” for 2018 are automotive, and oil and gas.

Fiscal stimulus in the lead up to the general election will be those in the consumer sector as boosts to disposal income is expected to continue and will be front laded in 1H2018. 

The OPR will benefit banks, while Maybank IB believes proven contractors will have the highest potential of winning jobs for the upcoming megaworks.

Among those the bank highlighted were Gamuda, IJM Corp, Sunway Construction and Cahya Mata Sarawak.

Meanwhile, the tourism theme is driven by an increase in higher quality/spend tourists and Visit Malaysia 2020. It noted the increase in tourist arrivals in two previous Visit Malaysia years.

“In 2007 and 2014, tourist arrivals surged +19% YOY and +7% YOY respectively, while tourism receipts grew +27% YoY, and +10% YOY respectively.”

Major construction activities are expected to lift economic activities for the Look East Malaysia theme. 

“For Sarawak, the Development Bank of Sarawak and PETROS (Petroleum Sarawak Bhd) and for Sabah, the Sabah International Petroleum Sdn Bhd are also catalysts. 

“Long term potential beneficiaries of this thematic are Cahya Mata Sarawak, Hock Seng Lee and KKB Engineering, Bintulu Port, Suria Capital and IJM Corporation,” said Maybank IB.

It added that its top picks for the year are IOI Corp, Hong Leong Financial Group, Gamuda, Yinson , Genting Berhad, Cahya Mata Sarawak, Bermaz Auto , YTL Hospitality REIT .

Geopoliticals risks, and financial imbalances and instability were highlighted by the bank as two key market risks that could detail sentiment. 

While volaitiy in the market will continue leading up to the GE14, the market will return to being driven by fundamentals, which are well supported by GDP and corporate growth expectations. 


Sarawak to further develop capabilities in oil and gas

KUCHING: Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros) will embrace state-of-the-art technologies in its exploration and extraction of oil and gas, as it looks to become a major player in the region.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state-owned O&G company, set up last year, will undertake development of marginal fields not explored by giant oil and gas corporations.

Abang Johari, who was in Oman last week to study the latest technology used in its upstream oil and gas industry, said he was impressed with the drilling technology that was done electronically using data analytics.

All retrieved data of the hydrocarbon profiles, including depth and volume, were analysed and delivered immediately through data technology, thus saving time and money.

“Petros will use the best technology and methods available to study our hydrocarbon reserves.

“We will optimise data analytics as well as adopt the latest technology to maximise our capabilities in the exploration of oil and gas, both onshore and offshore.

“We have the human capital and capability but we must continue to learn, adopt and keep abreast with the latest technology if we are to become an active player in the next two years,” he said at the E6 DP-A Topside and Substructure project completion and loadout ceremony here.

Abang Johari said Petros will work with other companies and vendors including Petronas in its oil and natural gas exploration activities.

Meanwhile the E6 platform, to be operated by Sarawak Shell Bhd, was fabricated by Brooke Dockyard and Engineering Works Corporation at its Sejingkat Yard at Jalan Bako.

Shell Malaysia chairman Datuk Iain Lo said the contract was awarded to Brooke Dockyard on Sept 5, 2016, for the fabrication of 1,450 tonne topside and 1,500 tonne jacket for the E6 field development project.

He said Brooke Dockyard had exceeded expectations by achieving mechanical completion within 13 months and clocking 1.2 million injury-free work hours.

Brooke Dockyard chairman Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg said the corporation, throughout its 30-year relationship with Sarawak Shell, had undertaken and completed 20 projects including four offshore living quarters, five substructures, seven topsides, one subsea template, two rejuvenation pre-fabrication works and a helideck within Sarawak waters.

Brooke Dockyard has 400 personnel that, 99% of whom are Sarawakians.


Abang Johari: Sarawak must diversify its economy and keep up with technological advancements

KUCHING: Sarawak’s transformation towards a digital economy must keep abreast with the sheer pace of the disruptive change in technological advancements.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state must go all out in diversifying its economy, especially towards digitalisation, as opportunities brought about by the disruptive change has levelled the playing fields in the technology and economic sectors.

The advent of new disruptive technologies also breaks the dominance of existing products and businesses, while providing room for new products to be successful, he added.

“Disruptive change in the form of technological advancements has transformed our lives, creating new opportunities and altering conventional industries.

“Sarawak is not spared from this disruptive change and we must equip ourselves with necessary skills and knowledge to face the impacts and challenges brought about by disruptive change.

“I strongly believe that the Sarawak economy needs to be further diversified as well as transformed to achieve this vision.

“The digital economy will be a strong platform and catalyst for the state to reach out to the global business community as well as forge international collaboration,” said Abang Johari in his special address at the opening of the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) here.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was present to deliver his keynote address to some 2,000 delegates at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.

Abang Johari said over the years, Sarawak has been able to position itself as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the Asean region.

The state is endowed with vast natural resources, agricultural land, fisheries and mineral in addition to modern and reliable infrastructure and utilities with efficient, business-friendly government.

Apart from having safe, clean and pleasant working and living conditions, he said the standard of living has improved significantly over the past two decades, where foreign investors can be assured of a high quality life.

“We also have young, productive, diligent and English-speaking trainable workforce.

“Sarawak’s labour force can provide educated, skilled, semi-skilled and young workers to meet the needs of a high-technology business environment,” he continued.

Abang Johari said the cooperation and support between the state and Federal Government, domestic and international corporation sectors, Sarawak can not only realise its full develop-ment potential but also play an important role as the key hubs for regional cooperation and economic integration in the region.

To further accelerate economic growth in Sarawak, the state has also set up its own development bank (Development Bank of Sarawak), petroleum company (Petroleum Sarawak or Petros) as well as the Sarawak Multimedia Authority.


One month bonus for Sarawak civil servants

KUCHING: Civil servants in Sarawak will receive a “special incentive payment” of one month’s salary or a minimum of RM2,000 from the state government next month.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (pix) said this was in recognition and appreciation of civil servants who had contributed to Sarawak’s development and growth.

“This special incentive payment is also in view of the commendable financial performance and healthy financial position of the state, which is attributed to the committed service, prudent spending and discipline financial management of the civil service,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly on Friday (Nov 17).

Abang Johari said the payment would involve an estimated sum of RM45mil for 22,549 people in the state civil service, including local authorities and statutory bodies.

“I trust that this special incentive payment will further motivate our civil service to continue with their excellent service delivery,” he added.

On another matter, Abang Johari said Sarawak would exert its mining rights by requiring Petronas to obtain the necessary licences and leases before it can operate in the state’s territory.

He said while the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) gave Petronas the right to explore and mine petroleum in Sarawak, the right to issue mining leases remained in the state list of the Federal Constitution.

“We are saying that even if the PDA has vested the rights to exploration and export of petroleum in Petronas by the Federal Government, it does not mean that Petronas has the right to simply enter into Sarawak territory, be it land or sea,” he said.

However, Abang Johari said this did not mean Sarawak was not friendly to the petroleum business in the state.

“We welcome the development of the petroleum industry in Sarawak. We have even set up Petroleum Sarawak Berhad or Petros to develop the petroleum industry in Sarawak.

“We have no intention of disrupting the normal business of the petroleum industry in Sarawak when we exert our mining rights under the Federal Constitution,” he said.

He added that the high-level special task force to be set up by the state government would look at ways and means to exert Sarawak’s rights over its natural resources as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement.

“Having a line of communication with the Federal Government on our rights is only one of the ways. Doing whatever we can in Sarawak to exert our rights is another way.

“We shall have to put our heads together. In the words of my late predecessor Tan Sri Adenan Satem, all that we are doing here is to reclaim our rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and which have been encroached by the Federal authorities,” he said.


Petros gets 40 applications from Sarawakians for CEO

KUCHING: Some 40 applicants – all Sarawakians – are eyeing the post of chief executive officer (CEO) at newly-formed Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

Petros chairman Tan Sri Hamid Bugo said the applicants included those who are currently working for Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Shell as well as local and foreign oil and gas (O&G) companies. Some of the applicants are working abroad.

“We are now in the process of categorising the applicants. We may go for psychometric tests for them.

“It will take a while for us to pick the CEO. We have to choose the best among them,” he added when asked by reporters yesterday at the Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) headquarters, where chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that SEB was spearheading research in hydrogen and fuel cells for commercial applications.

Hamid said Petros had advertised the CEO post in the newspapers, as this was the fairest way to enable anyone who is interested to apply.

Petros is also recruiting other key management executives to enable it to be operation-ready by the first quarter of 2018.

Hamid was non-committal on whether the operational deadline set by the Government could be met, but is confident that it should start operations in first half-2018.

The primary objective of setting up Petros is to enable Sarawak to participate in upstream O&G development, particularly in the exploration and extraction of O&G within Sarawak waters. The development of marginal oil fields could be among Petros’ undertakings.

Earlier, the chief minister said the Sarawak government had allocated RM5mil initially for SEB to conduct the hydrogen and fuel cell research, which formed an integral part of the Government’s new emphasis to develop the state.

Johari said Sarawak aspired to transform the public transportation sector with clean and green technologies, adding that hydrogen and fuel cell technology is known to be clean since water is the only by-product in the process of producing electricity.