Siew Sin disagrees Malaysia may affect Borneo’s growth
Published on: Saturday, October 20, 1962
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NORTH BORNEO NEWS & SABAH TIMES  - (Saturday, October 20, 1962) - JESSELTON, Friday. — The Malayan Minister of Finance, Mr Tan Siew Sin (pic), told the Press at Jesselton Airport this afternoon he believed that to have a stable economy it would be necessary for the Borneo territories to industrialise as rapidly as possible, as they were doing in Malaya. 

Mr Tan said he did not agree with people who suggested that Malaysia would bring a slowing of development. 

He thought that Malaysia would have the opposite effect, and that provided a sound system of economy and a sound political system were maintained there would be no great difficulty in getting the required financial assistance to develop the Malaysia territories. 

Finance Minister was answering questions at the Airport prior to returning to Malaya after a one-day visit to Jesselton where he had discussions with political leaders as well as Government officials. 

“The long-term effect of Malaysia I think should be greater economic prosperity, not only for the Borneo territories, but also for the Federation as a whole,” said Mr Tan. 

“Naturally in the initial stages you will have to sink some money and wait some years for the investment to show a return,” continued Mr Tan. 

“This is the case with roost investments.” He thought that one of the reasons why industrialisation was necessary was because the prices of primary products were liable to greater fluctuations than prices of manufactured goods. 

It has been suggested, said Mr Tan, that when the question of industrialisation of the federation of Malaysia arises, manufacturers would prefer Singapore and Malaya for starting industries, rather than the Borneo territories. 

Mr Tan thought that the industry might be spread, although he granted that the best facilities were in Singapore and Malaya. 

“We might decide that certain types of industrialisation would be spread throughout the area” he said. 

In reply to a question about finance for development, Mr Tan stated that to achieve a greater rare of economic development it was necessary to obtain outside help. “There are various ways of doing this” he said.

“The most obvious is assistance from the World Bank or to give it its correct name the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.” 

Mr Tan pointed out that the World Bank only arranged finance for economic projects and not for such things as schools and hospitals; it had to be a project likely to increase the national income of the country. 

Answering a question on the problem of labour in connection with industrialisation, as North Borneo was now an agricultural country, Mr Tan replied: “I believe the people here feel very strongly about immigration. As far as I can see one of your main difficulties in accelerating development is lack of bodies. 

After all, you have to be realistic: you cannot develop on paper. You can draw up plans but unless you can develop them on the ground — and the only way of implementing them is through human bodies, from the top at the managerial level right down to the workers – I do not see how you can really accelerate the economic growth of the country. But that is really a matter for you to decide”. 

Mr Tan did not foresee any difficulty in training local workers. This could be done either by setting no centres, for training here or enlarging the Malayan Productivity Centre in order to absorb trainees from other territories. 

In reply to another question, Mr Tan said that the people in Malaya naturally took a very keen interest in the Philippine claim but his Prime Minister had stated that it was really a matter for the Philippine and British Governments. 

Mr Tan stated that he had come to North Borneo to clarify certain questions in the field of finance which in the opinion of members of the Inter-Governmental Committee needed clarification. He was satisfied with the discussions which he had had both with officials and unofficials. 

This morning he had had discussions with the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary and Sir John Martin and later they had been joined by the Sarawak delegation led by their Financial Secretary. 

Later in a radio interview the Minister stated that the Malayan Government had approved a loan of $5,000,000 to the Borneo Housing Development Co Ltd. 

He believed this was the largest loan made to that company and that it would be of some value both to North Borneo and Sarawak. 

It is believed that the loan is being made by the Employers Provident Fund in Malaya and. is subject to being guaranteed by the Governments of Sarawak and North Borneo.


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