Sabah keen to work with Sarawak in automotive, tourism industries

Abang Johari (second from left) and his wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Juma'ani Tun Tuanku Bujang (left), with Shafie and his wife, Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib, at the State Legislative Assembly building this afternoon. Shafie was paying a courtesy call on Abang Johari.

– by Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Oct 11: Sarawak and Sabah will collaborate in various sectors to strengthen each other’s economy and to cushion against possible fallout from the looming global economic crisis.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said among the industries both states could work together were automotive and tourism.

Recently, Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd announced plans to invest RM600 million in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) to assemble heavy commercial vehicles.

With help from Sarawak, Shafie believed it would benefit the company more in terms of cost. At the same time, the spillover from the automotive industry could be shared with Sarawak.

“I have told the federal Minister of International Trade and Industry (Datuk Darell Leiking) to carry this out, including discussing a collaboration with Sarawak … like some components could be produced by Sarawak so that the spillover will not only benefit Sabah but we want also to share with Sarawak.

“We will look into more details later on,” said Shafie here today after paying a courtesy on his Sarawak counterpart, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari agreed to the proposed collaboration. He pointed out that Sarawak could also help out in supplying cheap electricity to Sabah for its industries.

In response, Shafie agreed with the idea, saying that not only was Sarawak’s electricity cheaper (16 sen per kilowatt/hour) compared to Sabah’s (40 sen per kilowatt/hour) but Sarawak had access to a consistent supply of electricity.

“That’s why to realise the industry and reduce the cost, we must spread out the cost and components because it can be cheaper to be done (produce components) in Sarawak because of the cheap power.

“So why not, we negotiate, win-win kind of thing. Although the (vehicle assembling) company wants to invest in Sabah, I never forgot about Sarawak,” he said.

He added that tourism would be another industry where Sabah and Sarawak could collaborate on. Sabah has abundant Chinese tourist arrivals, and it would like to share some of them with Sarawak.

“Gone are the times we operate in silence. We must operate together to ensure not just the politics but also the economy can be strengthened together.

“I’m confident with Abang Johari’s vast experience, we can share knowledge with one another for the benefit of the rakyat,” said Shafie. — DayakDaily