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Look East Policy: Develop Sabah as new Malaysian economic hub

Publish date: Mon, 22 Apr 2024, 06:37 PM

KOTA KINABALU: It is time for the Sabah government to come up with a "Look East Policy in the country" plan to develop Sabah (and Sarawak) as the new Malaysian economic hub.

Datuk Ewon Benedick (Upko-Kadamaian) called on the Sabah government come up with a progressive economic plan to be presented and demanded from the federal government, especially in the preparation of the 13th Malaysia Plan (RMK13) 2026-2030.

Ewon said the Indonesian government is actively developing its new capital of Nusantara (Ibu Kota Nusantara/IKN) in East Kalimantan, Borneo.

He believes the relocation is the republic's recognition of the great potential of Borneo and he also expects Indonesia to start moving to the new capital this year as well.

"Indonesia is developing IKN in East Kalimantan, while Thailand is starting to talk about building its ship canal. Then, we in Sabah, need to be competitive in planning our future economic potential, especially the active trade activities in the Sulu Sea and the lively Borneo air traffic activities in Sabah," he said when debating at the State Legislative Assembly sitting today.

Meanwhile, state Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Datuk Phoong Jin Zhe disclosed that Sabah's total investment in 2023 reached RM11.346 billion.

This includes investments in primary sectors, manufacturing and services, making Sabah the seventh-highest state in Malaysia in terms of investment received in 2023.

"In 2021, Sabah's total investment reached RM6.045 billion. In 2022, Sabah received a total investment of RM11.561 billion in various sectors," said Phoong in reply to Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Salleh Tun Said Keruak's (BN-Usukan) query during the question and answer session at the State Assembly today.

Phoong (DAP-Luyang) said his ministry among others is also coordinating investment proposals from Kibing Group to increase the capacity of its solar photovoltaic glass production at its factory in the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park by adding a third production line, with an expected additional investment of RM700 million, creating up to 600 new job opportunities.

Responding to an additional question from Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Senallang) Phoong said Kibing Group has created a total of 1,661 job opportunities in Sabah, with Sabahans accounting for 1,430 or 86.09 per cent of them.

He said the Sabah government is actively promoting the development of the industrial sector and further encouraging investment growth in the economic chain.

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