|KUCHING (Feb 3): The Ministry of Infrastructure and Port Development has been tasked to lead discussions with the Ministry of Transport in Putrajaya on Sarawak’s intention to take back Bintulu Port, said Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
He said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had given the directive during the monthly state Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“Abang Jo has said he only wanted one port in Bintulu,” Uggah, who is Deputy Premier, said during the ministry’s Chinese New Year 2023 gathering here last night.
The port is presently under the federal government.
Uggah said taking over Bintulu Port would be “no small task” for the Sarawak government.
“Now we also have the Samalaju Port there too. We will have to look at the Port Authorities Ordinance 1961. We hope to table a Bill in the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) sitting by the end of the year,” he said.
It is learnt that the state government wants Bintulu Port to be part of the cluster of state ports, under a Central Port Authority which will be incorporated by state law.
Uggah said another big task for his ministry is to come up with the Sarawak Port Masterplan.
The study seeks to improve and enhance the efficiency of port services, port security through the installation of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), Aids to Navigation (AtoN) facility, crane, dredging works, and exploring new business opportunities.
The government has allocated a sum of RM4 million for the study, which begins with Miri Port Authority.
Uggah added his ministry and all agencies under it have much work to do this year.
“We have revived many sick projects although they are still a nagging problem. We still have 340 critically delayed projects. Our Premier, during a state development co-ordination committee in Kapit three days ago, had wanted JKR (Public Works Department) and DID (Department of Irrigation and Drainage) to ensure all development projects entrusted to the ministry be completed as scheduled and with the stipulated quality.
“But I am optimistic with our close collaboration, support, and understanding we can rise to the occasion. We can learn from our past mistakes, the success we have achieved, and the many new technologies that we can use,” he said.
On the ministry’s performance last year, Uggah said out of the RM7.724 million operating expenditure, the ministry managed to spend RM7.548 million or 97.71 per cent.
However, on development expenditure, he said out of the RM942.991 million allocated, it had spent RM642.751 million or 68.16 per cent.
Among those present were Uggah’s wife Datuk Doreen Mayang, Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Port Development I (Infrastructure Development) Aidel Lariwoo, Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Port Development II (Port Development) Datuk Majang Renggi, Betong MP Dr Richard Rapu, ministry permanent secretary Chiew Chee Yaw, and state JKR director Richard Tajan.