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      19 September 2018  

MITI and SEDIA are ready to collaborate to turn Sabah into a Regional Powerhouse
 

Putrajaya (Wednesday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) today paid a courtesy visit to Darell Leiking, the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI). The Penampang Member of Parliament received the delegation led by SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari and was given a briefing on Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) programmes and initiatives. Dr. Yaakub informed the minister that SEDIA is ready to foster closer collaboration with agencies under MITI, such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), to turn Sabah into a regional economic powerhouse within BIMP-EAGA.

 
  SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari (third from right) presenting a memento to MITI Minister Darell Leiking (second from left)

Over the past years, SEDIA has been participating in a series of exhibitions and expositions both locally and internationally, working closely with MITI as well as MIDA and other investment promotion agencies in investment promotion activities. These efforts include overseas trade and investment missions, welcoming courtesy visits by representatives and business delegations of foreign countries, attending meetings and promotion-related events at the national and international level, and to explore and attract the many forms of investments from around the globe. With the commencement of the Second Phase of SDC in 2011, SEDIA has been aggressively promoting investment into SDC. SEDIA has also adopted a more focused and targeted approach in attracting quality investments in new growth areas, especially in service-based, innovation-led and knowledge-intensive industries including in Industry 4.0.

The introduction of SDC has no doubt created greater awareness on investment opportunities in Malaysia's second largest state. Unlike other development corridors in Malaysia, SDC - an 18-year economic development programme - covers the whole state of Sabah. The corridor initiative uses a holistic development approach to ensure economic development benefits everyone in the state. Subsequent to the launching of SDC, SEDIA has been promoting Sabah, under the SDC investment tagline, "A preferred destination for business, culture and nature". With the advantages that Sabah has to offer, SEDIA has managed to attract tremendous interest amongst local and foreign investors into Sabah.

Measures implemented under SDC have clearly succeeded in drawing investments into Sabah. By the second quarter of 2018, SDC recorded RM166.33 billion of cumulative committed investments. Investments in SDC have clearly gained traction that, by 2017, Sabah recorded annual GDP growth at 8.2 percent, the fastest in Malaysia, overtaking all the other states in Malaysia and surpassing the national average at 5.9 percent, as reported by the Department of Statistics (DOS). The DOS observed that the rapid economic growth was driven by major government initiatives especially the implementations of SDC projects.

The Sabah Development Corridor was launched on January 29, 2008 during the Ninth Malaysia Plan as one of Malaysia's five regional economic corridors, with the aim to accelerate the growth of Sabah's economy, promote regional balance and bridge the urban-rural divide, while ensuring sustainable management of state resources. This was followed by the establishment of SEDIA, through the adoption of Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority Enactment 2009 on January 15, 2009. The Enactment was assented by the Tuan Yang Terutama Negeri Sabah on February 23, 2009, and gazetted on February 26, 2009. Through the enactment, SEDIA is vested with the necessary power to serve as a decision-making and execution institution that is tasked with realising the SDC vision and mission, by being the One-Stop Authority to plan, coordinate, promote and accelerate the development of SDC.

During the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, SEDIA has been according greater emphasis on improving the state's economic competitiveness by enhancing the state's global connectivity to ensure seamless movement of people, goods and services. Efforts would be directed especially towards enhancing the efficiency of the logistics sector by improving the relevant infrastructure and the integration of land, sea, and air services. In the long run, this will help in reducing the cost of living and doing business.

Realising the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) towards contributing to the state economy, SEDIA had also developed initiatives for, and have been actively involved in, SME development in Sabah commencing during the Second Phase of SDC (2011-2015) and into the current Third and final Phase of SDC (2016-2025). The SME programmes are also in line with one of the three principles of SDC, which is capturing economic value activities. The SDC SME programmes are to help entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies to discover business ideas, validate as well as scale up their ventures.

A crucial component of SDC SME programmes is the SDC SME Incubator programme, whereby the programme is conducted over a two-year period through two types of setups based on their location, namely In-Situ (on-site) and Ex-Situ (off-site) Incubation. In-Situ Incubation is hosted at the Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP), supported by shared basic facilities. This programme was launched in 2016 with an allocation of RM15 million provided by the Federal government via TERAJU. The incubatees will get access to technical and business advisory services from business development and technical officers stationed in SAIP. These services are available to participants of the Incubator programme on a pro-bono basis during the two-year period, and non-participants can access these services at an attractive fee. As at July 2018, there are a total of 259 In-Situ and Ex-Situ incubatees, and a total of RM11.86 million in grants approved for these incubatees. SEDIA is planning to assist in marketing the products of these incubatees locally as well as internationally, and is looking forward to support from MITI via MATRADE.

SEDIA noted that, during his recent visit to Sabah for the Malaysia Day celebration, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed commented that Sabah has the capability for rapid development, having gone through much progress over the years; he was impressed with Sabah's landscape and believed the state had strong potential to be a developed state.

To develop Sabah further, the Prime Minister suggested identifying assets of Sabah which can be exploited, such as land, mountains, seas, beaches and low temperatures. He was however concerned for the high cost of living that the people in Sabah had to bear. He further suggested Sabah could establish an automotive industry where carmakers could assemble their products in the state. Industries can come here because in the future, Sabah is going to be a petrochemical producer with deep-water production due to begin soon. In this regard, the Third National Car Project could be sited at KKIP. This possibility should be seriously considered in view of the strategic geographical location of Sabah in the East ASEAN region. The proposed upgrading of Sapangar Bay Container Port into a transhipment hub under SDC is timely. SEDIA is also looking into a study to establish a free economic zone in KKIP.

SEDIA also welcomes the announcement by the MITI minister to establish an aerospace industry in Sabah. In order to enhance seamless movement of air passenger and cargo, the Federal government through SEDIA had also commissioned an Air Freights and Aviation Hub Masterplan Study. The location, once finalised, could also provide support for various aviation businesses and services such as logistics support for e-commerce, premium outlets, Fixed-based Operation for private jets and charter, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services, and aerospace manufacturing industries.

- Media SEDIA

   
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