Darell tells why foreign investors are hesitant
Published on: Sunday, October 20, 2019
By: Neil Chan and Larry Ralon
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KOTA KINABALU: International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Darell Leiking (pic) said high entry costs was among the main reasons most international investors were shying away from investing in the State. 

“A lot of investors are interested to come to Sabah but we need our state authorities to reconsider new strategies to entice them.” 

He said it was time for Sabah if not the whole of Malaysia to make it easy for investors to come in and that there must also be incentives to encourage such investors into the state, including factors such as affordable lands for investors.

“Based on my own experience the reason many investors shy away from investing in the state is because the cost of entry is too high.” 

He cited land costs in the State adding that if its too costly to begin with then Investors won’t be attracted to come. 

“We need to work around this issue because if we don’t then they will go somewhere else.” 

“Secondly electricity costs (in the state) also need to be aligned to a baseline where investors will find it attractive to come in. Thirdly is the ease of doing business where there must not be too much ‘red tape’ for investors to come in. So all parties have to play their part. We have to be innovative in our approach in such matters.” 

He gave the example of the high land cost of Industrial parks in the country which can even reach RM40-50 ringgit per square foot in the Peninsular as one such issue while noting that even Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) was charging RM30 per square foot for land.

He said one approach being done in Sarawak was to give away “almost for free” lands to investors, noting that this is something that may soon be copied as well in the Philippines and in Kalimantan.

Darell, however, said one way for Sabah to compete was to use innovative thinking on ways to approach the matter and also conditions to prevent investor speculation (on industrial park land). 

“You can probably make it cheaper in the beginning and make a deal with the investor where once they have reached their economies of scale then there can be a new way of charging them. Maybe even lease it to them for “X” amount and they have the option later to buy the land for X amount.” 

He explained to curb speculative buying, an investor must need to build something on their land area within a time limit of three years for example (or it will be taken back by the government) which he said is something being done now by Sarawak. 

“That is why I keep reminding Sabahans we should be thinking different now (to attract investors to the State). What’s the point (of my ministry) bringing (so many Investors) here (Sabah) if in the end the conditions are so difficult for them, “ he said. 

Earlier Darell launched The Malaysia Autoshow (Sabah) annual automotive event which was organised by the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and and loT Institute (MARii) flagship event since the Autoshows establishment in 2015. 

The event will be held from October 19-20, 2019 in Dewan Kebudayaan Penampang, Kota Kinabalu. Sabah. 

Darell said the government believes the automotive sector has an important position to strengthen the industry’s competitiveness in line with global demands. 

“Therefore it is important that the Malayia Autoshow be brought to all corners of the country, including Sabah.

He said the Sabah Autoshow Sabah is organized specifically for Sabahans, with the involvement of Sabah car clubs as well as MARii-driven technology that can be used by local industry in Sabah.

“I urge Sabahans to take advantage of the organization of this Sabah Autoshow Sabah. There are many opportunities for people to experience the latest vehicle technology, including new job and business opportunities here.

“This is in line with the government’s direction in promoting the use of technology to develop smart transportation systems, and to achieve the country’s main goal of the connected mobility ecosystem.

“Furthermore, any benefits gained from this event can be further expanded at MARii Satellite Sabah to open up the opportunity for Sabahans to venture into new technology fields.”

He said MARii has continued to infuse technology based activities in the Malaysia Autoshow brand and expressed his hope that through this direct interaction with these technologies, visitors to the Autoshow will be able to know exactly how it could enhance their daily life, build meaningful careers and businesses and play an active role in the Malaysian economy. 

MARii through its Sabah Satellite, will be showcasing various technologies applicable in the automotive and connected mobility sectors, such as Virtual and Augmented Reality and the applications of Data Analytics (BDA) and telematics featuring technology such as live vehicle tracking. on-board diagnostics and data management. 

‘In order to develop a healthy ecosystem that can benefit all stakeholders in all regions. it is important for technology awareness to be imparted based on the comparative advantages of each locality”, said MARii CEO Dato’ Madani Sahari.

“This is why it is pivotal for access to technology to play an important part of the Sabah edition of the Malaysia Autoshow, to ease the adoption of these technologies for all levels of the community, in our cars, businesses jobs and daily lives,” he said. 

Visitors can also try coding and programming of robots through MARii’s partner, Kinabalu Coders whom will be participating in the MARii Tech Hub. There will also be fun and educational simulations for the visitors, who can attend one-to-one workshops on technologies related to implementations of IoT, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. 

The aftermarket community will also experience a variety of custom-modified vehicle and 4x4 showcases while various clubs such as Sabah Land Rover Club, Sabah Toyota BJ40 and Borneo Safari will be showcasing their vehicles to the visitors at the Autoshow. 

Meanwhile, the State Government is on the right track in its effort to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who also hinted there will be more initiatives for attracting and facilitating investments into Sabah in the upcoming State Budget 2020.   

He said more of such can be obviously seen in the tourism sector, where since they took over the State Government and until now there are already more than three or four hotels coming up with a magnitude of billions of ringgit of investment.   

“It is already on the ground. I myself have been going abroad, to China, Kalimantan and other places to try to entice them to invest in Sabah. They do, we see there already a lot of them (investors) investing at the State-level. 

“I am confident there are so many of this in the tourism sector. I think since we took over the State Government, there are already more than three or four hotels coming up with a magnitude of billions of ringgit of investment. 

“I do monitor their progress closely. Where they are, what are their teething problems. If they have a problem to get their development approval we will make sure that this we can speeded up,” he told a press conference after officiating the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Day. 

Mohd Shafie also shared about the State’s “Invest Sabah” plan for next year, where they will prioritise and show to investors which are the sectors they should go to. 

“We will guide them, not only in terms of policies but also facilitations, so as to attract more investors to come to Sabah and invest in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) and so on.” 

The State Government has also identified a 600-hectare site  in Kudat which has potential to be developed as an industrial area, he said, adding he will announce all the initiatives planned for boosting investment in the State during the upcoming tabling of the State Budget 2020. 

The MITI Day, which is held for the first time in the State, is meant to strengthen further ties between the Ministry and the public, and an opportunity for it and its agencies to inform the people on their respective functions.    

Mohd Shafie appreciated the effort made by the Ministry to choose the State as venue for the annual programme. 


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