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Stability brings RM11 billion to Sabah: Task force to speed up investment approvals
Published on: Friday, April 19, 2024
By: Sherell Jeffrey
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Stability brings RM11 billion to Sabah: Task force to speed up investment approvals
Juhar and his wife entering the State Assembly yesterday.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah’s economic outlook remains promising with the industrial and investment sectors, as well as tourism, driving the State’s growth. 

The State Government’s strategic initiatives and focus on human capital development are expected to further enhance Sabah’s competitiveness and attract more investment and economic opportunities in the coming years.

The industrial sector and investment remain key drivers of Sabah’s economy, Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, said at the opening of the fifth session of the 16th State Legislative Assembly, Thursday.

Juhar highlighted the State’s strong economic performance in 2023 and outlined the Government’s plans to further boost investment and productivity in the coming year.

In 2023, Sabah recorded a total investment of RM11.346 billion, placing it 7th among states in terms of highest investments received.

Of this, manufacturing contributed RM1.510 billion, showcasing its continued importance to the state’s economy.

“The stability within the State and the high commitment of the State Government have successfully stimulated the industrial sector and further encouraged investment growth,” Juhar said. 

He cited the expansion of SK Nexilis Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which established a RM300 million copper granulation factory at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park through its subsidiary Curix Sdn Bhd.

To build on this momentum, the State Government will strengthen the Manufacturing Investment Task Force in 2024 to ensure the realisation and expedited implementation of all approved investment proposals. 

The focus will be on enhancing investor confidence in areas such as green technology, downstream palm biomass/bio-industry, mineral resources, low energy intensity industry, food processing, medical devices, and other supporting industries.

“The formulation and implementation of policies and directions for this sector, including the preparation of Master Development Plans for two new Industrial Parks in Kota Belud and Kimanis, as well as the implementation of the Sabah Biomass Industry Policy, will also be prioritized,” Juhar said.

Efforts will also be made to expedite the development of Free Zones in the Lahad Datu Industrial Park and to ensure the successful implementation of industrial water supplies in industrial parks, further improving the state’s attractiveness for investors.

The tourism sector, another key economic driver for Sabah, has also shown encouraging recovery trends. In 2023, the number of tourist arrivals increased by 51.3% to 2.61 million, compared to 1.72 million the previous year.

For 2024, the State Government set a target of 2.8 million to 3 million tourist arrivals.

“To achieve this, the government will intensify implementation of various high-impact tourism initiatives and programmes, including providing incentives to industry players to encourage them to actively boost growth in this sector,” Juhar said. 

The development of airline route networks is a top priority, as the State Government continues to implement incentives to international airlines and support the sustainability of the aviation industry. 

In 2023, the State welcomed direct international flights from Jakarta, Shanghai, and Seoul, South Korea via AirAsia.

Focus would also be on aggressive tourism promotion and marketing campaigns, including the proven High Visibility campaign that can develop niche market segments such as birdwatching, diving, and sports tourism.

Infrastructure and facilities in tourism areas, especially rural areas, will also be a key focus in preparation for Visit Malaysia Year 2026.

The State Government will continue to emphasise human capital development, particularly among youth.

This includes providing training and skills courses, grant and fund allocations and entrepreneurship programmes through the Sabah Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme.

Initiatives such as the Sabah Youth Leadership Incubator Program, SMJ Fellows, Young Pioneers Program, and Sabah Youth Council will be implemented to cultivate leadership talent and self-potential among youth. 

The State Government will also establish District and Divisional Youth Councils to ensure the systematic administration of youth associations and clubs at the grassroots level. 

To address youth unemployment, the State Government will continue to organise career carnivals for job seekers and the Hospitality Engagement Learning Programme, a work-study program in the hospitality sector.

The government’s commitment to producing highly skilled human capital is also reflected in its efforts to cultivate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

This includes the Keningau Science Centre, which was completed and inaugurated in December 2023, as well as the Sabah Science Awards and various STEM-related events and programmes.

To support human capital development through education and learning, the State Government will also strengthen the role of libraries as intellectual centres.

This includes the construction of new library buildings, the addition of Village Library services and the digitization of library services, as well as the implementation of programmes such as the State-level Children’s Literature Festival and the American Corner.

“The State Government’s aspiration to produce highly skilled human capital continues to be strengthened through the cultivation of STEM fields and the strengthening of the role of libraries as intellectual centers,” Juhar said. 

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