Published on: Sunday, January 27, 2013
BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area) Business Council Chairman, Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed, said the Chief Minister was fully aware of the situation.
"Through the Bimp-Eaga outings, he (Musa) has entrusted me to do something about it. I know he can't wait to see the ramp in Kudat to be completed and he even expressed his interest to join the maiden voyage to Palawan.
"Our Prime Minister is also fully aware that Kudat needs more outside trade and he has personally approved the allocation to construct the ramp to accommodate the berthing of a ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) vessel as well as the CIQS station," he said when asked to comment on the recently-concluded Bimp-Eaga trade mission from Kudat here.
Roselan said a delegation of close to 50 comprising mostly businessmen, including five from the Sabah Bumiputera Chamber of Commerce, Kudat led by Tanjung Kapor Assemblyman Datuk Teo Chee Kang, coming here for the four-day trade mission simply meant that Kudat was hungry for trade and more economic development.
"When was the last time we saw such a big number in a single trade mission?" he asked.
In this respect, Roselan disclosed that they had successfully persuaded the Philippine-owned Montenegro Lines to position a ro-ro vessel of 499 dead weight tonnage (dwt) at Brooke's Point to perform twice weekly voyages to Kudat.
Together with Bimp-Eaga officials in Palawan as well as from the Palawan Economic Development Council (Pedco), Roselan had earlier accompanied Teo and the delegation to meet up with the business circle as well as inspect the ramp at Brooke's Point.
The next day during and after the trade forum, businessmen from Philippines and Sabah were seen discussing proposals from each side intensely at the venue in A&A Plaza Hotel.
On security concerns hitting the endeavour, Roselan, who left for Cotabato in Mindanao to attend another meeting after the forum here, said after returning from Cotabato on Friday night he could categorically say that "all is safe and fine over there."
Roselan found that the people in Cotabato, which is a 70 per cent Muslim territory, most of them in the lower rung of the economic ladder, were eager to learn new technology and ways to improve their businesses.
"I am very surprised that they truly are looking forward to Malaysia for more exposure and opportunities as well as technical training.
Our Malaysian leaders are very well and highly regarded over there.
"Before I left for Cotabato, everybody told me to get a bodyguard.
It is all nonsense (as) we really see no reason to have one.
My entourage of three men went to Cotabato to look into their agriculture sector and we have found a remedy to their predicament.
"Come December this year, we hope to see some good results," he said, adding that the same phenomena would be attributed to Palawan.
"All these are made possible because the Malaysian Business Council in Bimp-Eaga has partnered with Biojadi, a biotech company specialising in organic fertiliser to revolutionise their agriculture sectors," he said.
According to him, the Bimp-Eaga is not involved in political maneuvering.
"We stay out of politics but when the peace treaty has been agreed and duly enforced, then we will move into the Bangsamoro region and the corresponding Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) areas, too.
"We came to discuss with strategic agendas in mind, which is simply to ensure that the food basket of every member country is accorded the right priority and budget," he said.
Roselan said efforts were also being done to connect all the trading ports of the member countries through sea and air linkages in order to increase visits among its people, which ultimately will increase intra-tourism and investments.
In this respect, he said MASwings had been so passionate about the Bimp-Eaga territory and very soon Palawan would be connected to Kota Kinabalu by air.
"We all want an open door policy to be widespread, where we welcome legitimate travellers and tourists to pass through our doors.
It is a blessing when more people pass through our doors," he said.
When asked what he hoped to accomplish after taking charge of the Bimp-Eaga Malaysian Business Council, Roselan said previously after the four governments discussed, the various subject matters were merely put into files.
"Now when they introduced the business council as a fifth country entity, we are always consulted and we listen and we look for the slightest opportunity we can.
"That is why we always like more representation from the private sectors to come and listen to the various governmental meetings.
There are plenty of gold mines hidden somewhere within those meetings.
"I know some meetings may be boring, but there are many more meetings which are so very crucial for the private sectors to participate.
The governments are here to extend every facility to the private sectors to flourish as well as to increase their investments within the four pillars of our jurisdiction," he said.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters here on Friday, Teo described the trade mission as a success and believed much would come out of it.
"It was a success and I believe Palawan Governor, Abraham Mitra, is serious when he says he wants to come to Sabah and visit Kudat in the very near future," he said.
Addressing questions from the Filipino media about threats of illegal trading and drugs coming in from Sabah with the inception of the ferry service, Teo said the security issues were discussed at length between Kudat District Police Chief, DSP Dawi Ossen, and his counterparts in the Philippines as well as the Navy and Philippines Coast Guard during a CIQS to CIQS meeting on Thursday.
"It is something that we are equally concerned aboutÉillegal trading is a matter of enforcement," said Teo, adding that he had also informed officers from the Malaysian delegation involved in the proposed setting up of the Customs, Immigration, Security and Quarantine (CIQS) Centre in Kudat to report to their respective higher-ups for actions.
Responding to the proposal by his Philippine counterparts for a formal agreement to be signed for a stronger police presence along the proposed Kudat-Palawan ferry route, Dawi had said that it was a good idea, which he would be bringing up to the Sabah Commissioner of Police.
It would be up to the Malaysian police top brass in Bukit Aman to consider, he told the meeting.
Among those representing the various Malaysia and Sabah government agencies at the meeting were William Santor (Kota Kinabalu Quarantine Department), Ahmad @ Abu Bakar Ali (KKIA Immigration Department), Hasan Abas (Kudat Immigration Department), Kudat Town Board Executive Officer, Mumin Amsah, Kudat Town Engineer, Jasmin Lumbok, Bangi People Development Officer, Abdan Abdul Majid, together with Bimp-Eaga Malaysia Business Council Deputy Chairman, James Ibrahim @ James Lim.
Also at the meeting were the Chairman of Kudat Bumiputera Chambers of Commerce, Mohamad Ayong, Kudat Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Pak Chee Eng, Kota Marudu Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Lu Kim Yung @ Lu Kim Yen, and Kudat Town Board councillors.