Ministry will set up special unit to spur growth of SMIs in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: The Ministry of Industrial Development (MID) will establish a special unit within the ministry to spur the growth of Small & Medium Industries (SMI) in Sabah.

Its Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said the unit will work closely with the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Corporation Malaysia at both state and federal levels.

The ministry also has plans to set up a SME Park that will provide facilities such as an incubation centre and common user facilities as well as packaging and grinding centres.

“The concept details of this park are currently being prepared,” he said at the ministry’s Annual Media Conference and presentation of its Journalism Award 2009 at a hotel here yesterday.

Meanwhile, a study to formulate a biomass policy for Sabah would begin next month as biomass, especially from the oil palm or palm oil industries, have been found to be useful raw materials in generating energy as well as developing new industries.

“The issue of availability of supply and pricing is a problematic area and we need to address it by having a policy,” he said.

Two other studies which MID are requesting to undertake are the Sabah Freight Equalisation Scheme (SFES) and the Sabah Cost of Logistics Index (SCLI).

“The SFES and SCLI are recommendations resulting from a study on High Cost of Logistics Expenses in Sabah. We believe that implementation of the SFES and SCLI would go a long way to address the high cost of logistics expenses in Sabah,” said Raymond.

On Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco), an agency under the ministry, Tan said the group managed to record a turnover of RM685.0 million for last year, up by 5.7 per cent over the forecast and 1.2 per cent higher than the 2008 turnover.

He said the main contributors to the group’s turnover were Cement Industries (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, Perkasa Trading Sdn Bhd and Lahad Datu Flour Mill Sdn Bhd.

On Sedco’s plans, Tan said the group was conducting a study for the establishment of a deepwater oil and gas support services hub in Kudat.

The proposed project aims to support the upstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas industry.

On the development of the ministry-owned KKIP Sdn Bhd, Tan said for this year, 226 operational entities and factories were expected to generate an investment value of RM2.01 billion and provide jobs for 6,389.

He said from 2010 to 2012, a total of RM5.44 billion in investments, from local and foreign investors, was expected to flow in, providing employment for 1,850 workers.

These investments, he added, were expected to range from biotechnology, silicon-based solar cells, to wood-based and rubber-based manufacturing.

Major developments expected in 2010 include the development of Lahad Datu into an international maritime hub not only for oil palm products, but also transshipment port for the BIMP-EAGA region. This was the result of an agreement signed between the Port of Rotterdam Authority of the Netherlands (POR) and POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd last year.

Against the backdrop of brighter economic prospects globally, he said the outlook for the state’s manufacturing sector is expected to remain stable and driven by the implementation of public-funded projects.

Although investment in the manufacturing sector has not been encouraging, he believed that there is still much room for expansion as the manufacturing sector contributes 9 per cent to the state’s GDP.

Raymond hopes the manufacturing sector will pick up and further develop with the construction of the Sabah Oil & Gas Terminal (SOGT).

In an effort to further attract local and foreign investors, the Department of Industrial Development and Research (DIDR) will continue to hold seminars as well as trade and investment missions to Peninsular Malaysia and abroad.

“These include seminars on POIC Lahad Datu in Johor Bahru, China and Japan. Some of these trade missions will be held in conjunction with the Trade and Investment Mission led by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry,” said Raymond.

This year, the department plans to organise a ‘Buy Sabah Made Products’ expo in Lahad Datu, the Sabah International Business Conference and the Sabah International Exhibition 2010 in October.

It will be taking part in the 7th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) in May, the Small & Medium Industries Expo (Smidex 2010) in June, the 10th Malaysia International Food & Beverage Trade Fair in July, and the Malaysia International Branding Showcase 2010.

As for promoting Sabah products to the international market, apart from the 107th China Import & Export Fair in April and the 7th China-Asean Expo in Nanning, China in October, DIDR will also be representing Sabah in the Gulf Food Exhibition and the Indonesia International Expo in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, he said the development budget of RM53.63 million the MID received from the state government for 2010 is mainly to finance ongoing projects undertaken by Sedco, KKIP Sdn Bhd and POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd.

New Sabah Times