Hajiji Haji Noor
KOTA KINABALU: Actions must be taken to accelerate the growth of the Brunei- Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippine – East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), which is still a highly relevant platform for the establishment of collaboration and cooperation among the member countries.
Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor, said for Malaysia, particularly Sabah, there is much potential in transboundary cooperation in the priority sectors earmarked by BIMP-EAGA namely transport, energy and power interconnection, trade and investment, ICT, agro-industry and fisheries, tourism, environment as well as social- cultural and education.
“This fits well with the strategic direction of my Government’s five-year development plan from 2021, Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) which I launched early this year,” he said in his welcoming remarks at the inaugural BIMP-EAGA Energy Online Conference and Exhibition (BECE) today, organised Midas Events Management.
His speech was delivered by Sabah Special Envoy to BIMP-EAGA, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
According to Hajiji, the SMJ implementation was in line with the main framework of the national development through the 2030 Shared Prosperity Vision.
SMJ’s three main thrusts were the Agricultural, Industrial, and Tourism sectors as a focus on Economic Growth including Human Capital and People’s Well-being; Green Infrastructure and Sustainability Network, he said.
He was confident that BIMP-EAGA, which is Asia’s largest regional grouping aimed at accelerating economic development, improving export competitiveness, and enhancing the attractiveness of the East Asia Growth Area to local and foreign investments has even greater prospects in the coming years.
“Malaysia is committed to continue supporting and enhancing cooperation in the BIMP- EAGA,” said the Chief Minister, adding that BIMP-EAGA has come a long way since its inception in 1994.
Hajiji said the theme “BIMP-EAGA Energy Sector – Opportunities & Challenges” was apt as it aimed to update industry players on the challenges facing the oil and gas industry as well as the power and energy infrastructure industry.
“I believe you will take time to discuss many relevant topics including opportunities and solutions, application experiences, seeking global partners for future collaboration, and infrastructure financing, among others,” he said.
He noted that the BIMP-EAGA development path to 2025 was guided by the long-term strategic thrusts of enhancing connectivity within and outside BIMP-EAGA, establishing the subregion as a food basket in Asean and the rest of Asia; promoting BIMP-EAGA as the premier tourism destination; ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, and promoting people to people connectivity through social-cultural and education.
Sabah, he said, had marked a milestone recently that would help materialise the Borneo Grid and wider Asean Power Grid, which is BIMP-EAGA’s Priority Infrastructure Projects under the BIMP-EAGA VISION 2025 (BEV 2025) as well as the aspiration of BIMP-EAGA to increase energy access in particular to the rural areas.
On Aug 6, 2021, Sabah’s utility company Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) signed the Power Exchange and Interconnection Agreement with Sarawak Energy’s SESCO to allow power energy link-up between the two neighbouring states.
“The BIMP-EAGA PEI (Power and Energy Infrastructure) sector strategy centered on promoting the optimum use of subregional energy resources to increase energy access especially in the rural areas, optimise the use of domestic energy resources and improve regional energy security,” he said.
On another note, the Chief Minister was heartened to note that many businesses remained resilient and have taken actions to capture opportunities despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Over the past year, enterprise leaders around the world have had to respond to disruptions, unpredictability, and unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, the pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives including how we conduct business. This has prompted many to seek new ways of doing things.
“We saw organisations adopting new business strategies or changed business models. This is the new norm and way forward for many who seek to stay in business,” he said.
Among those attending the online conference and exhibition were Indonesia Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif; Chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority, Philippines, Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol; and Project Manager and Organising Chairperson of BECE, Dolly Jimayol.