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      20 August 2018  

SEDIA briefs Malaysia Special Branch on SDC programme and initiatives

Kota Kinabalu (Monday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) had the opportunity to provide the Malaysian Special Branch with a briefing on the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). The SEDIA delegation was invited to provide the briefing at the Police Training Institute, which covered topics such as current SDC performance, and updates for ongoing SDC initiatives. The SEDIA delegation was led by Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari, who provided the briefing this morning.

  SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari (seated, second from left) and Head of Special Branch Sabah, Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Suhaimi Bin Deraman (seated, centre) with Sabah members of the Special Branch, after the briefing on Sabah investment policies and economic prospects through SDC

The Special Branch is an intelligence agency attached to the Royal Malaysia Police, tasked with acquiring and developing intelligence on internal and external threats to the nation, subversive activities, extremist activities, and activities of sabotage and espionage. It is also empowered to analyse and advise on the necessary course of action to the various departments and agencies both within the police department and other related agencies. With such an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the nation, SEDIA welcomed the efforts of the Special Branch in providing its members with the latest information available on economic initiatives implemented in Sabah through SDC. The members of the Special Branch were briefed on future strategies and targets under SDC. The Head of Special Branch Sabah, Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Suhaimi Bin Deraman, said that the briefing was important so as to allow the Special Branch to identify areas where they can focus safety and security efforts.

SDC 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 the 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.

The rationale for initiating the SDC programme was to address several deficiencies in the Sabah economy, among which included uneven economic growth as the state was heavily dependent on primary commodities such as timber, oil palm and fisheries, to name a few. Furthermore, the SDC programme served to introduce initiatives that would increase value adding in key sectors, address the high incidence of poverty, improve public infrastructure to support incoming investment, and decrease reliance on foreign labour.

With the theme 'Harnessing Unity in Diversity for Wealth Creation and Social Well-Being', the SDC programmes are underpinned by three key guiding principles for the development of Sabah, namely the need to: capture higher value economic activities, promote balanced economic growth with distribution and ensure sustainable growth via environmental conservation. Sub-regions and growth centres will be planned systematically to ensure optimum resources utilisation, and development efforts are well-coordinated.

During the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, SEDIA will accord greater emphasis on enhancing the state's global connectivity to ensure seamless movement of people, goods and services. Efforts will 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.

The current ongoing implementation of the Pan Borneo Highway will link the various economic clusters under SDC, thus realising enhanced land connectivity. Looking beyond the region, Sabah's geographical advantage will allow Sabah, as well as Malaysia, to leverage China's proposed One Belt One Road, and Maritime Silk Route initiatives. Sabah can therefore serve as the conduit, linking the Asia-Pacific and RCEP economies to the Middle East, Europe and Africa and contribute towards the vision of turning Malaysia as the regional logistics hub. To this end, SEDIA has commissioned a Masterplan Study for Aviation Hub and Air Freight Logistics, which will provide a road map to cater for increased air passenger and freight service capabilities from Kota Kinabalu. Also during 11MP, expansion of the Sapangar Bay Container Port had been approved, allowing for more efficient container handling that will speed up discharging and loading operations.

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.

- Media SEDIA

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