Hajiji Haji Noor
KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has identified the East Coast of Sabah as a new economic growth hub due to its proximity to other East ASEAN Growth Areas (EAGA), said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor.
“State agencies such as POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd have positioned its industrial park and port at Lahad Datu as the logistics hub for BIMP-EAGA.
“Plans are also in place to construct a maritime academy to support the maritime- dependent economies of EAGA and a marine transportation hub to enhance inter-EAGA connectivity,” he said at the welcoming dinner and official opening of the Sabah International Expo (SIE2023) at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here last night. His speech was read by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
Hajiji reiterated that being a part of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia- Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Sabah is in a strategic location.
“As BIMP-EAGA prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, we ought to take stock of its potential. Data on BIMP-EAGA offers many opportunities.
“There is much potential in transboundary cooperation in earmarked sectors such as transportation; energy and power interconnection; trade and investment; information and communication technology; agro-industry and fisheries; tourism; environment and sociocultural and education.
“Except for Brunei, other EAGA members are far away from their capitals of Jakarta and Manila. Hence, Sabah is ideal as a gateway for trade and investment,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the establishment of the new Indonesian capital, Nusantara in East Kalimantan, will augment Sabah’s prominence.
“The influx of people and enterprises into Borneo will catalyse economic growth. The State Government believe domestic and international investors can tap into this sub- region with a market of over 70 million consumers and growing,” he said.
On another note, Hajiji said Sabah is confident of getting more high-impact investments and surging further beyond the RM9 billion investments already approved in the first half of this year.
“Last year, Sabah’s trade hit a record high of RM118.1 billion compared to RM87.2 billion in 2021. We would certainly like to see more investors coming to Sabah to establish more businesses beneficial to all,” he said.
Hajiji assured that guided by the development roadmap, the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya, Sabah’s commitment to growth is unwavering, and it will continue to push its development agenda based on the three growth pillars of Agriculture, Industry and Tourism and placing emphasis on investing in the people, enhancing connectivity and green sustainability.