'Boost mid- and high-value industries in Sabah's east coast'

KOTA KINABALU: The east coast of Sabah could see the development of mid- and high-value industries if there were better infrastructures in place.

Merotai state assemblyman Sarifuddin Hata said the close proximity of the east coast to Southern Philippines, which boasts a population of 20 million, and the busy Lombok-Makassar Straits should be taken advantage of.

"Economic opportunities are abundant for Sabah, so it is high time for us to ramp up our mid- and high-value industries in the East Coast to meet the needs of the Southern Philippines and Australasia region.

"While the party has identified several possible economic agendas that can effectively transform this area, priority will be given to improving and enhancing investment enablers such as electricity and water supply.

"Only by having reliable enablers can we proceed with the East Coast's industrialisation agenda as part of our strategy to combat absolute poverty incidence here," he said in a statement.

The Parti Warisan supreme council member added that with the commencement of Indonesia's new Nusantara Capital in Kalimantan, the Lombok-Makassar Strait will become very busy with numerous merchant ships plying their trades from China or Australia.

He urged prompt action to enable Sabahans, especially those from Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu, to benefit directly from this development that will see its fruition in a decade's time.

Sarifuddin also warned of possible threats to Sabah when industry trained and qualified Sabahans are offered better salaries to work elsewhere.

"And if they do (leave), then this poses a threat to Sabah's industrialisation agenda that Warisan envisions.

"The significance and huge potential of the East Coast as the new economic corridor for Sabah (and Malaysia) cannot be overstated, especially when dealings can also be done in Ringgit Malaysia, which can assist in the recovery of the Ringgit."

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