Sabah’s public and private sectors told to leverage the strong economic ties with China and Asean

Sabah’s public and private sectors told to leverage the strong economic ties with China and Asean

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has called upon the public and private sectors in Sabah to leverage the strong economic ties with China and Asean to foster economic synergy in shaping future regional collaboration and economic development.

He said China is Sabah’s largest trading partner chalking a bilateral trade value totalling RM10.7 billion last year.”In 2023, Sabah’s total trade was valued at RM41.463 billion, with main exports comprising Palm Oil at RM15.291 billion, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) at RM5.051 billion, Crude Petroleum at RM2.548 billion, Palm Kernel Oil at RM1.289 billion, and Palm Oil-based Oleochemicals at RM1.123 billion.

“Out of this, our bilateral trade with China totalled RM10.654 billion, making it Sabah’s largest trading partner,” he said at the Malaysia-China Summit 2024: Networking Engagement Series in Sabah at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort near here today.

His speech was delivered by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan.The Chief Minister said Sabah’s economic ties with China were driven by strong trade, investment, and collaborative projects across sectors.

“For the manufacturing sector, our state has received RM3.07 billion in investments from China to date, which have created 3,086 jobs. These investments involved solar glass manufacturing, silica and processing, food manufacturing, rubber products, wood-based products, and plastic products,” he said.

Hajiji also highlighted that the palm oil sector is one of Sabah’s economic cornerstones and as a leading producer of palm oil in Malaysia, Sabah plays a critical role in meeting the global demand for this versatile commodity.

Sabah contributed 24 per cent of Malaysia’s total crude palm oil production at 4.5 million tonnes, which is a significant national contribution and showcases the state’s leadership in driving and playing a key role in enhancing our trade and investment for this important commodity, he said.

In line with the global environmental standards, 80 per cent of palm oil plantations in Sabah have achieved the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification as of last year, he said.

Besides that, Hajiji said there are ample opportunities for investors from China and Asean in green technology, high-tech agriculture, and mixed developments.”Sabah is also pitching to Chinese investors to explore the state’s Blue Economy concept, which involves the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs.

“Sabah also looks forward to increased cooperation with China in green energy, manufacturing, high-technology agriculture, and smart city construction, among other areas, to promote mutual benefits and win-win partnerships,” he said.

“While oil and gas remain important revenue streams for Sabah, we welcome investors also to explore solar and storage technologies, hydro, geothermal, and carbon market opportunities,” he added.

Hajiji said China is the largest source of foreign tourists to Sabah with 135,855 of the 396,564 international arrivals for the first four months this year from the People’s Republic of China.

He believed the Malaysia-China Summit 2024 represents not only a significant platform for strengthening bilateral trade and investment but also an excellent opportunity to highlight and further develop Sabah’s thriving tourism sector.

Hajiji said the summit was auspicious as it marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Malaysia’s diplomatic ties with China, which fell on May 31, 2024.

“Our two countries have had a long history of good bilateral relations and in the past few years, we have experienced remarkable progress in exchanges and cooperation in various fields – trade, investment, education, culture, tourism, and beyond.

“Sabah supports this initiative as a platform to further enhance our bilateral relations and shared prosperity to include ASEAN, thereby strengthening our regional economic integration,” he said.


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