Gerakan Kedah, today, questioned the Kedah state government as to why the USD10 billion (RM35.7 billion) crude oil refinery project in Sg. Limau, Yan (also known as the Sungai Limau Hydrocarbon Hub or Sulihh), has yet to see the light of day even though the state government had signed a deal with Merapoh Resources Corp Sdn Bhd and Hijaz Refinery Sdn Bhd to develop the project back in December 2009.
In a press conference, held at the Gerakan office here in Alor Setar, the Gerakan Kedah youth chief, Tan Keng Liang, said that the failure of the Kedah state government to get the project off the ground is a great embarrassment, not only to the state government, but also to all the people of Kedah.
The Sulihh project is an two-trained oil refinery project on 850 acres of reclaimed land from the sea and another 100 acres on the mainland at Sungai Limau near Yan in Kedah and was touted to be the biggest of its kind in the country.
The state government had anticipated collecting close RM400 million in taxes annually from the project as well as to provide 30,000 new job opportunities for Kedahans.
The idea behind the project was to process crude oil that were originally imported from the Middle Eastern countries, most probably from Arab Saudi, process the crude oil into refined products such as naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas at the plant and subsequently re-export the processed petroleum products to other Asian countries such as China.
The ground breaking ceremony for the project was initially supposed to be in October of last year and the site was scheduled to be ready by 2014, however it was halted after the Department of Environment (DOE) returned the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report submitted to them, saying it was incomplete.
In the beginning of last month, the Menteri Besar of Kedah, Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak announced that the ground breaking ceremony for the project would take place by the end of this year and also added that the project was expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
However, Tan in his press statement claimed that the state government had reported in the Kedah state assembly in November 2010 that one of the key players in the project, namely Hijaz Refinery, had withdrawn from the project, while the other, Merapoh, had yet to make any investment.
Tan also questioned why the state government still waiting for Merapoh to make the investment and did not use an open tender to invite other bidders to develop the project as what has been propagated by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in their ‘Buku Jingga’.
“Please don’t say this is a private project… the state government was so bold to claim to initiate a mega project but nothing actually happens after that. This is a great embarrassment to the people of Kedah”, he further reiterated.