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      27 November 2017  

SEDIA welcomes European Union delegation

Kota Kinabalu(Monday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) earlier today welcomed a visiting delegation from the European Union to promote trade ties with Sabah. Her Excellency Maria Castillo Fernandez, Ambassador and the head of the European Union delegation visiting Malaysia, led a group of fifteen EU ambassadors and other delegation members on an official visit to Sabah.

The delegation from the European Union is visiting Sabah to receive firsthand information from government officials and agencies on the current development activities in the state, and had requested for a meeting with SEDIA to know more about the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) programmes and initiatives. The meeting reception started with welcoming remarks by SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Hj. Johari as well as an address by H.E. Maria Fernandez. The meeting entailed a presentation on the SDC, and also an open discussion between SEDIA and the visiting delegation.

  SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Hj. Johari (seated, 4th left) with Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Malaysia, H.E. Maria Castillo Fernandez, and the other members of the EU delegation

Having received a briefing on Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) projects and initiatives, the members of the visiting delegation were made aware of the generous fiscal incentives offered, which should entice more members of the European business communities to arrange visits to Sabah in the near future. Under the SDC, fiscal incentives are available for specific activities in various locations, covering several industries. The incentives include full tax exemption on statutory income for up to 10 years, or investment tax allowance of 100% on qualifying capital expenditure for five years, which can be offset against 100% of statutory income. These investment activities can also be eligible for exemption on import duty sales tax exemption on equipment and machineries used, subject to current policy.

During the open discussion, the delegates expressed keen interest in partnering to develop SDC projects. Among the notable projects was the Gondola (cable car) to Inobong substation, under the Greater Kota Kinabalu banner. The Inobong substation is a hill and nature reserve along the highlands of Crocker Range Park, located 18km southeast from the main Kota Kinabalu area. Inobong hill itself is known as a salt trail, where common activities include jungle trekking, conservation studies and sightseeing. The mountain terrain and its scenic qualities make the location a natural choice for tourism development, particularly a cable car system supported by other tourism products such as accommodation, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and public amenities.

The delegates had also shown interest on the sustainability initiatives of the state, in particular, the state's environmental conservation. In recent years, the EU has been participating in environmental conservation activities in Sabah, and the delegation are keen to explore further steps in this direction.

The delegation was also briefed on future strategies and targets under the SDC. During the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP), 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 implementation of the Pan Borneo Highway is timely in linking the various economic clusters under the SDC, thus realising enhanced land connectivity.

Looking beyond the region, Sabah's locational advantage will clearly 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 has been approved, allowing for more efficient container handling that will speed up discharging and loading operations. More recently, the government had announced plans to construct the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline, which will receive gas from the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal in Kimanis, to be delivered to several power plants on the east coast of Sabah.

- Media SEDIA

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