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Engineers, scientists to the fore

on 02 Disember 2011.

KUCHING: Engineers have been asked to study Sarawak’s peat soil structure and how to reduce the costs of developing projects on it.

Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said this was necessary because part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area was covered with peat soil.

“Peat is a very difficult soil structure. This is why I propose to scientists and engineers to do a study on peat and what can be done in order to reduce the costs of projects on peat soil.

”When you do piling on peat soil it’s very costly. At the moment I have this problem in Mukah. I also have a housing project in Muara Tebas on peat soil,” he told reporters after opening an engineering conference organised by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) here yesterday.

Datuk-Amar
It’s now official: Johari striking a gong to launch the engineering conference in Kuching yesterday. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

Johari said one solution, which he had observed in Australia, was to build large retention ponds to drain the water from peat soil.

“With the water drained, the peat soil will become more compact and stronger for building on. But we leave it to the scientists to do a study,” he said.

Johari also called on engineers to look at robotic operations for use in oil palm plantations and agriculture as a way of addressing labour shortage in the sector.

“Perhaps they can develop robots to harvest oil palm and other agricultural produce.

“This I think can be done, but there must be research and development,” he said.

In addition, he suggested that Sarawak could be a regional data centre for international companies due to the state’s rich energy resources.

“We can invite international players to position their data centres here. We can have this because it requires a steady supply of energy.

“This is a new area which engineers and scientists can explore,” he said.

He hoped that participants would be able to explore his suggestions during the three-day conference.

Earlier Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Ab Hamid said the university was aware of its role in helping Sarawak’s development.

“Working in tandem with the state government, we are able to produce engineers to fulfill the needs of stakeholders,” he said.

In addition, he said Unimas was carrying out various projects to serve rural communities.

Among these, he said, was the Green Island feasibility study to map potential sites for implementing rural micro-hydro dams and hydro projects in Semulong Ulu and Nanga Sengaih to provide sustainable electricity.

Khairuddin said the engineering faculty was also working with the Public Works Department to design and develop an in-stream vertical micro-hydro system in Lepong Gat, Kapit.

“When these projects are completed, it is our hope that the communities in these areas will be able to enjoy affordable and sustainable electricity,” he said.

 

Extracted from thestar.

Arkib Berita

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia Telephone: +60 82581000/+60 82581388, Fax: +60 82 665 088, Email: corporate@unimas.my
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