KOTA KINABALU: Direct flight connections between Kota Kinabalu and Wuhan, China would see the possibility of Sabah benefiting from part of the Maritime Silk Road funding of USD40 billion offered by the China government.
Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir was informed of this by Dr Tan Beng Huat, the Sabah Maritime Silk Route Society president, during a courtesy call at the City Hall together with visiting professors from Wuhan, China yesterday.
According to Tan, Chinese President Xi JinPing had initiated a project called “Maritime Silk Road Project” for all the countries along the silk route, involving 10 countries from China all the way to South East Asia and passing through the Straits of Malacca, the Indian Ocean to Eastern Africa.
Tan said China Government had pledged USD40 billion to fund all cooperative activities, such as infrastructure, cultural promotion, maritime research and tourism activities.
Since its formation in 2013, Tan said the Sabah Maritime Silk Route Society had been doing their research on the said project and he opined that the establishment of the ‘sister city’ between Wuhan and Kota Kinabalu would be a great advantage.
Apart from opening a new ‘tourism’ market, he said the proposed direct flight connections between the two cities would boost cultural, economic and education exchanges.
On the two visiting professors, namely Yao Wijun and Lim Weng Kon from the Central China Normal University, Wuhan, Tan said the university is rated as one of the top three in China.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer of Sabah Institute of Institute of Arts (SIA), Professor Dato’ Dr Wilson Yong, said that there are currently many students from China studying at SIA and the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
The establishment of the ‘sister city’ relations between Wuhan and Kota Kinabalu, he said, would also benefit the education sector, as it will encourage more students from China to study in the local higher learning institutions and universities and vice versa.
Yong, therefore, expressed his hopes for the materialization of the ‘sister city’ relations and the ‘direct flights’ connection between the two cities.
Thanking the group for visiting him, Madingkir said he welcomed the efforts from the private sector in assisting the government to promote Sabah and create exchanges in cultural, tourism, economy and education with cities in China.
He also commended Yong and Tan for the initiative in promoting Sabah and the Sabah Maritime Silk Road project.
Also present at the courtesy call was Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen, the president of United Sabah Sze Yip Association.