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Warning not to jump gun on projects
Published on: Monday, March 20, 2023
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Warning not to jump gun on projects
Masidi, on his part, said such random announcements would become the butt of jokes, especially when the people are more concerned about water supply and driveable roads. - Bernama pic
BOTH Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and State Finance Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun warned interested parties against issuing statements about billion-ringgit projects involving the State Government without these projects having undergone evaluation.

Hajiji said all major foreign and domestic investments must be fully vetted and only after all criteria had been met would an official announcement will be issued by the State Government. He said no decision had been made on proposals submitted by a group of investors on an industrial park and dam on March 15.

“All proposals have to be been scrutinised and only then the State Government will make the announcement,” he said in a statement.

Masidi, on his part, said such random announcements would become the butt of jokes, especially when the people are more concerned about water supply and driveable roads.

“We welcome foreign investors and projects but we want it to be realistic to avoid being seen as suckers so easily fooled with investment promises yet are impossible to deliver. “This will reflect on our integrity and credibility.

“We cannot stop people from making these announcements but when you try to tie it with the State then a feasibility study should be first order.

“Announce it when it is doable. Sabah has only a 3.9 million population and when certain quarters announce a project involving 20,000 acres, who would buy that?” he said.

Irresponsible project announcements such as a recent one involving RM10 billion, he said, would have people labelling the Government as a failure and enrage people grappling with inadequate basic utilities.

He said such proposals should first go through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, then the State Ministry of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship and relevant State investment arms.

“We only want credible and genuine investors,” he said.

Sabah Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship (MIDE), Phoon Jin Zhe, echoed Masidi’s call.

He said as the Minister in charge, he had no knowledge of these projects and only came to learn about them in the media.

“My ministry was in the dark. One of the announced projects is to build an international industrial park. We were not been informed of any details of the idea. It’s absurd and inappropriate. Any intention on investment should at least be evaluated and filtered by my Ministry at the state level first before making announcements,” he said.

Phoong said he has a strong and capable task force chaired by MIDE Permanent Secretary, Datuk Thomas Logijin. “My ministry welcomes and is pleased to assist investors to go through the necessary process just like how the South Korean company SK Nexilis and China’s Kibing Solar did when they expressed interest in investing in Sabah,” he said.  

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