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Sabah looking forward to closer economic ties with Thailand
Published on: Thursday, August 22, 2019
By: Anthea Peter

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government is fostering closer ties with Thailand in terms of trade and investment activities that would boost economic growth and diversify industries in the State. 

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said Sabah is looking forward to welcoming more investors from Thailand in light of numerous industries and business sectors in Sabah where further partnerships with Thailand can be developed.

He said this in his speech read by Sabah Assistant Finance Minister Kenny Chua at the “Bridging Trade and Investment Relations between Thailand and East Malaysia (Sabah)” trade forum, here, Wednesday. 

In an effort to stimulate the trade volume in the Asean region, both Sabah and Thailand governments will streamline procedures and legal requirements so entrepreneurs can do business more easily, said Shafie.

Aside from Sabah’s rapidly growing tourism industry and the export of primary commodities such as palm oil, forestry and petroleum, Shafie said the automotive sector is expected to be a new source of revenue for the State.

“The wood processing industry such as sawn timber, plywood and veneer has also been promoted in order to capitalise the State’s distinctive comparative advantage with respect to an abundance of natural resource endowments.

“These are just a few examples of the business potential that Sabah and Thailand could accomplish by complementing each other with competitive advantages and strengths,” Shafie said.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia, Narong Sasitorn, said Sabah’s trade ties with Thailand will enable the State to reach markets beyond Thailand.

“We have embarked on a new infrastructure development drive that includes roads, rails, deep sea ports and new international airports. 

“Our east west and north south corridors will give you (Sabah) immediate access to Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and even the southern provinces of China,” he said.

Narong said Sabah’s port and terminal facilities, Pan Borneo highway and a diversification of industrial base is seen as the main gateway to Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga), which holds a market of 60 million people.

He added that the planned relocation of Indonesia’s capital to Borneo would add a lot of business dynamism to the region.

Narong said Thailand is to export automotive parts, organic food, high valued agricultural products and construction materials to Sabah.

“From Sabah, we want to import aquaculture, furniture, manufacturing products and biochem products,” he said.

He added that apart from trade, Thailand can support Sabah’s vision to diversify into fruit agriculture, orchids and farming.

“We are here because we believe in the great potential of Sabah as well as the great potential of what we can achieve together. Our governments are working hard to improve further our connectivity and ensure our economies are more integrated,” he said. 



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