KOTA KINABALU Februari 20 – Sabah needs an all-sector approach to addressing infrastructure and utility inadequacies to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs).
The inadequacies, such as power and water supply especially in planned industrial parks, are known to have impeded industrialisation growth in Sabah for decades.
“We need to gather all government institutions, relevant GLCs, financiers and business seeker to come together to address the problem, including getting investments into infrastructural development in Sabah,” said Phoong Jin Zhe, the Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship, during a visit to the POIC Lahad Datu industrial Park here today.
Phoong, who has visited the state-owned Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park and the Sabah Oil & Gas Industrial Park (Sipitang) since his appointment to the state cabinet about a month ago, said industrialisation remain relevant and important in the current Sabah Maju Jaya development plans and “we must succeed”.
POIC Lahad Datu, set up in 2005, covers about 4,400 acres of which about 2,000 acres are developed. POIC also owns and operates its own port which is widely known as POIC Lahad Datu Port.
It is a project led by state-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, and has drawn about RM3.5 billion investments so far, its CEO Datuk Fredian Gan told in his briefing.
In the same session, Datuk Fredian also updated on the current development status of POIC and its way forward.
Phoong said industry’s need for reliably electricity supply is a given and must be prioritised if Sabah’s economic growth is to continue.
He added that he would seek to have the Chief Minister himself to lead a high level working group to seek a comprehensive, ‘once and for all’ solution to a long-time problem.
He also spoke about a ‘big vision’ for Sabah “leapfrogging, into green technology-driven industrial sectors and linkages with major markets instead of relying entirely on generic economic growth.
He hailed the repositioning of POIC Lahad Datu by diversifying into logistics and exploiting the strategic location of the Sabah east coast within East Asean and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a 15-nation grouping led by China, Asean members and several other economies.
He also pledged to help push for the granting of Free Zone status (A federal jurisdiction) for POIC Lahad Datu to enhance the industrial park’s attractiveness to foreign manufacturers.
Phoong was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Mr Benedick Bisoni, Lahad Datu District Officer – Tuan Firuz Idzualdeen, senior POIC Sabah Board of Directors and senior managers.
The visitor were taken on a tour of POIC Lahad Datu’s port facilities, a palm oil refinery and a flour mill.
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