Hajiji Haji Noor
KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor said the State Government is focused on ramping up digitalisation efforts to maximise the potential of the digital economy.
“We are leveraging technology and innovation to boost productivity and growth,” he said at the Sabah Chinese Economic Conference at Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here today. His speech was read by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
The Chief Minister said undoubtedly, with the advent of technology, businesses across all industries are leveraging advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI).
“Digital experience makes all the difference, and businesses which do not invest in such to stay relevant and competitive will fail. In Malaysia, the digital economy is expected to contribute 22.6 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), with the Government aiming to create half a million jobs in the digital sphere by 2025.
“I understand this conference will aim at enhancing Sabah’s economic competitiveness using new technology. Your embarking on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and drones as new tools of our economic development deserves support,” he said.
Hajiji said in June this year, the Sabah Government, through the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA), had organised a Drone Seminar where many saw it necessary to explore drones’ potential on how they could revolutionise the state’s economy.
“To be competitive, We need to be more creative and proactive by taking full advantage of digital technologies and the use of virtual reality, among others,” he said.
Hajiji said the State Government would also focus on empowering human capital to be competent, innovative, resilient and having integrity.
He said initiatives to implement include organising the Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) courses in line with the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Collaboration with industry on skills training needs to be improved to enhance the capacity and marketability of our human capital,” he said.
Sabah’s five-year Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Development Plan, which was launched in 2021, has largely borne fruit, he said, adding it is a strategic roadmap and blueprint that set the direction for the state’s development, effectively outlining its vision, strategy and priorities.
Hajiji said there are many opportunities both domestic and foreign investors can leverage on the multiple development sectors in Sabah.
“We have several key industrial zones. There are two free economic zones, namely the Integrated Logistics Services in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) and the Transhipment Hub in Sepanggar.
“There is also the Sabah Oil & Gas Terminal in Papar and the Sipitang Oil & Gas Industrial Park. In addition, there is the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu.
“Two more industrial parks will be constructed in Kimanis and a location between Kota Belud and Kota Marudu to provide opportunities for investments,” he said.
He said opportunities also abound in the two other thrust sectors: agriculture and tourism.
The tourism sector has seen a robust performance of late following the opening of borders post-pandemic, which has brought about a positive impact, registering a 77.1 per cent increase in arrivals from January to May this year compared to the corresponding period last year, he said.
“We expect 2.2 million visitors to Sabah by year end, which is expected to generate RM4 billion in tourism receipts for the state,” he said.
Located in the heart of the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Sabah is a land of endless potential, said Hajiji.
“I see Sabah as a potential regional hub for manufacturing, maritime and transportation for emerging and developed countries,” he said, adding that the relocation of the Indonesian capital to East Kalimantan bodes well for Sabah.
“This will strengthen our position and spur economic activities. Investors, domestic and foreign, will have access to this subregion with a market of over 70 million people and growing,” he said.
He admitted that Sabah has its share of challenges and constraints, but he assured that they are not insurmountable.
“We are determined to push forward to realise the goals set out in our development agenda,” he said.