Neil Brian Joseph
KOTA KINABALU: The state government will continue to work with the Chinese Consulate-General Office in Kota Kinabalu to further enhance the state’s trade, tourism and investment industries, Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman said.
Since its establishment, the Chinese Consulate-General Office in Kota Kinabalu has made a significant contribution to ties between China and Sabah, he said.
“We are always open to hearing from you (the Consulate-General) on how to better facilitate trade, tourism, investment and other sectors, in line with the vision to bring greater prosperity to both China and Malaysia, and in particular Sabah,” Musa said at the Consul-General’s Chinese New Year reception at Hakka Hall on Friday.
“Recent years have seen closer ties and increased exchanges between Sabah and various places in China. This is evident by the number of Chinese tourists who visit this state, the figure reaching 430,000 last year.
“This has and continues to bring considerable economic benefits and spin-offs to Sabah. Based on current trends, we are expecting to welcome more Chinese tourists and investors in the near future,” Musa added.
He also expressed his wish that the figure would grow from 430,000 to one million in the near future.
He said that in recent years, China had charted remarkable achievements whereby things were moving rapidly and its citizens were living a better life through the facilitation of better infrastructure.
“While Sabah has a much smaller population, the government is always working hard to ensure that the people have access to relevant infrastructure that can help improve livelihoods within the local context,” he said.
Speaking in a historical context, Musa said those who had migrated from China and settled down here had made great contributions to the development of Sabah, particularly in the areas of trade, education and as professionals in the various fields.
Today, Malaysian Chinese are an important part of the nation’s fabric, he said.
“Globally, China is playing an increasingly important role. Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed building a community of a shared future for mankind.
“The Belt and Road Initiative demonstrates China’s vision and efforts in regards to building this shared future and Malaysia has responded positively to this and other relevant initiatives,” he added.
Musa also reiterated Sabah’s role as being the shining example of unity in the country.
“During this festive season, Malaysians regardless of background celebrate this joyous occasion, upholding unity, harmony and mutual respect for one another.
“Sabah is indeed a fine example of how our diversity of race, culture, and religion did not separate us but instead bring us together. We embrace each other’s differences and focus on positive values that each person brings to this melting pot,” Musa said.
Among those present were Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide and other state leaders.