Sarawak welcomes Chinese investors to tap into Tanjung Manis halal hub

Awang Tengah (sixth left) presents a souvenir to Tzan Jiang Quan during the delegation’s courtesy call on the latter. Also in the picture are (from third left) Julaihi, Naroden and Wong.

Awang Tengah (sixth left) presents a souvenir to Tzan Jiang Quan during the delegation’s courtesy call on the latter. Also in the picture are (from third left) Julaihi, Naroden and Wong.

KUCHING: The State government is encouraging investors from China to tap into the estimated USD3 trillion global demand for halal products by exploring potential business opportunities in Tanjung Manis Halal Hub (TMHH) in Bintulu, Sarawak.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said Malaysia has been spearheading the halal industry for the benefit of Muslims and non-Muslims around the globe.

“Being the pioneer in halal certification, Malaysia ensures the integrity of halal products and services through strict compliance with Syariah requirements whilst still being business focused and the certification is recognised internationally,” said Awang Tengah during a meeting with the Dali City Mayor Yang Jian and government officials yesterday.

He also noted that Yunan province (which includes Dali City) has a sizeable Muslim community in comparison to the 21 million Muslim population throughout China.

Awang Tengah added that the Sarawak Government had established the TMHH which covers an area of 124,517 hectares making it the largest among all the other halal hubs or parks in the region.

Among the investment potentials in TMHH he revealed is the cultivation of food crops; aquaculture; poultry and livestock; food processing; cosmetics; and health products.

“TMHH is also accredited as HalMas (Halal Malaysia) status by the Halal Development Corporation in 2010. With this status, the operators, industry players and logistics service providers who invest in this area will be able to enjoy incentives,” said Tengah.

TMHH he added also has a number of competitive advantages including a large land bank, extensive infrastructure and the deep water port while the current airport would be upgraded.

To date, the Sarawak Government has improved the infrastructure development such as electricity, telecommunication, port, water supply road among others in TMHH in order to enhance its connectivity to other main cities in Sarawak.

“With its strategic location, Sarawak can be used as a springboard for companies to penetrate the global halal market,” he added.

Besides the halal related industries at TMHH, Sarawak also welcomes other investments such as in energy-intensive industries like the polycrystaline silicon, ferroalloy, steel, glass and related downstream industries; high-tech industries in electrical and engineering; downstream processing and production of timber-based industries and furniture; petrochemical industry; and oleochemical industry.

Awang Tengah also revealed that Sarawak’s economy has been able to grow at four to five per cent annually over the last few years despite the slowdown in the global economy.

“Currently, our real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about RM106 billion (USD24 billion) and our per capita GDP is RM44,012 (USD10,000).”

On another note, Awang Tengah revealed that China has remained an important trading partner as well as a major source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Sarawak.

In 2015, Sarawak’s export to China totalled RM7.4 billion while imports were valued at RM4.5 billion.

Sarawak exported mainly LNG and petroleum products; palm oil; timber and timber products; and electrical components to China while importing manufactured goods, machineries and food products.

Meanwhile, members of the delegation were feted to a dinner hosted by the Longshan International Convention Centre (LICC) vice governor Tzan Jiang Quan last night.

Making up the delegation from Sarawak were Assistant Minister for Resource Planning Datuk Naroden Majais, Assistant Minister for Industrial Development (Investment And Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh and Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Datu Liaw Soon Eng.