Wednesday, June 26

Expand China-Sabah collaboration – envoy

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KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian and Chinese Governments should create a platform to promote exchanges and understanding between East Malaysia and China, said Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kuching Liu Quan.

Liu said there was still a lack of exchanges between East Malaysia and China, which caused a lack of understanding on both sides.

He said that when paying a courtesy call on the Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang here yesterday.

Liu said he had visited Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) in this trip, in which he learned about the enormous potential in Sabah, particularly in the oil palm, aquaculture, oil and gas industries as well as biodiversity.

He said Sabah and China could potentially collaborate in these sectors.

In recent years, China has been encouraging its entrepreneurs to venture out of the country.

“China is expected to invest USD500 billion worldwide in the next five years.

“If Southeast Asian countries can capture a fifth of the amount, that is equivalent to USD100 billion.”

Liu said that Malaysia-China partnerships in the field of economic and culture have been more frequent as of late, while the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent visit to China was successful in which both leaders had engaged in in-depth discussions.

“As China gears towards the development of its 21st century Maritime Silk Road, Malaysia’s strategic location would give our country geographical advantage,” he said.

Even though there were incentives in place for investors, and that policies in Sabah were relatively open, there was still a lack of exchanges and understanding between Sabah and China, he said.

Hence, Liu said the Sabah State Government could kick start a collaboration with a province in China.

For instance, the Sabah Chief Minister could lead local investors to visit Shandong Province with the aim to establish good relations and vice versa.

Eventually, the relations forged between both parties would lead to business partnerships, he said.

“Although Sabah is a tourism state, collaboration between Sabah and China in the tourism industry is only a minor portion.

“Both sides should expand their field of collaboration to agriculture, aquaculture, oil and gas sectors.”

In addition, Liu said Sabah and China complement each other in the sense that what Sabah produced was needed by China, such as palm oil, petroleum and natural gas.

On the other hand, China could provide Sabah with what it needed, including food products and manufactured goods.

Furthermore, Liu said there were Chinese entrepreneurs who have excess supply of goods like steel and cement, both of which were in short supply here.

Hence, Liu said there should be a project, such as technological research, to jump start the collaboration between Sabah and China.

On another note, Liu hoped to see the setting up of a Chinese consulate in Kota Kinabalu as soon as possible, which would provide assistance to Sabahan businessmen who wished to invest in China.

Although the Chinese consulate in East Malaysia is located in Kuching, Liu said the consulate served Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan.

“We certainly cannot neglect Sabah. I have personally visited Sabah four times since the start of my tenure eight months ago.”

Meanwhile, Liu also expressed his shock over the MH17 tragedy. He said Chinese President Xi Jinping has also expressed his condolences to families of the victims.

“All the victims who perished in the plane were innocent citizens.

“It is a painful ordeal for their families,” Liu said, adding that he hoped the perpetrators of the incident would be brought to justice as soon as possible.