Thursday, July 2

Ensuring business-friendly environment


Sabah government pledges to work on strategic relationships with business community


Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (eighth left), Datuk Henry Lau Henry (seventh left) and invited guests giving the thumbs up to the KK Resort City project after the earth-breaking ceremony yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has pledged to develop a business-friendly environment through strategic relationships with the business community.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal said development projects that can improve the economy, provide the market with funds, and create job opportunities are most welcome in Sabah.

Referring to the world-class KK Resort City development by Sunduvon Corporation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sarawak-based KTS Group of Companies, Shafie said the development would be another milestone for Sabah’s tourism industry.

“What impresses me even more is that the developer and investor of this massive project is none other than a company that originates from Sarawak, our neighbour, and not a foreign investor,” he said during the project’s ground-breaking ceremony here yesterday.

“This 325-acre island, which was developed through reclamation efforts by KTS Group, is approximately 15km off the south of KK city and will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to our vibrant tourism attractions and facilities. This is the beginning of a strategic partnership between Sabah and the KTS Group, and I look forward to the benefits and opportunities for the further growth it will bring, to not only our wonderful Sabah, but to the island of Borneo on the whole.”

He stressed that the KK Resort City project is a major development at the right time and place to add another product for discerning tourists.

Henry (right) briefs Shafie (third left), Liew (second right) and others on the KK Resort City project.

“Sabah needs more tourism products in order to attract even more tourists, be it from the Far East, or the Middle East, or from Europe, and the United States. Tourists will keep coming back if they like the place and each time they return, if there are more and newer products and facilities for them, the better.

“The government, through the Ministry of Tourism and the various agencies under its wing, remains committed to promoting the State,” said Shafie.

He challenged Sabah’s tourism players to secure 10 million tourist arrivals within the next five years.

“I believe this massive project, along with others that will be implemented soon, will help spur the economy. I won’t deny that the slack economic situation worldwide has also affected Sabah; we’re not sitting quietly and waiting for it to bounce back,” he added.

Shafie also pointed out that KTS Group is no stranger to Sabah, as its subsidiary KTS Plantation has been managing the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve Forest Management Unit (FMU) No. 19B for 25 years.

“KTS Plantation’s unit is one of the best performers under the group in Sabah and KTS Plantation is the only FMU in Sabah that is certified with both Forest Certification under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme MC&I, and also Environmental Management System ISO 14000 for a well-managed sustainable forest.

Shafie officiates at the ground-breaking ceremony of KK Resort City, witnessed by Henry.

“Operating the reserve since 1994, a total of 30,307 ha or 44 per cent of the forest area has been rehabilitated to date. It has become one of the models for good forest governance in Sabah,” he said.

The Sabah Chief Minister also pointed out that KTS Plantation has also initiated a smart strategic partnership for research and development with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and the Sabah Forestry Department focusing on improving forest management practices in Sabah.

“And to further support this programme, I have been told that KTS Plantation will soon establish a Field Research Station at Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve in the third quarter of this year. This initiative is inline with the Sabah Forest Policy that was launched in 2018,” he said.

“The group’s continual commitment to good forest management and improvement in nature preservation strategies has showcased their belief in the importance of preserving our natural resources, and as such, I am happy to welcome this fellow East Malaysian entity into our state to help further develop Kota Kinabalu into the tourism capital of Malaysia through their sustainable and responsible business ethics. They deserve commendation.”

In his speech, Sunduvon Corporation Sdn Bhd managing director Dato Henry Lau said the company acquired the land for the project two decades ago and subsequently turned it into an island.

“Through our expertise in construction and engineering, we will begin to transform this 325-acre reclaimed island into a world-class vacation destination,” he said.

Henry (second left) explains the potential of the KK Resort City development to Shafie.

“The first of its kind in eastern Malaysia, KK Resort City will be a large-scale fully-integrated tourism, business, and residential living township, aimed at capitalising on the vibrant tourism industry in Sabah.”

Lau said KK Resort City will have various facilities including hotel accommodation, resort facilities, shopping, dining, social, and other community activities for a true and vibrant city of good living.

“The KK Resort City project will be a significant show of KTS Group’s commitment to our investment in Sabah and an expression of our confidence in the stable and favourable investment and business environment in Sabah,” he added.

Among those present at the ground-breaking ceremony were Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew and KTS Holdings Sdn Bhd chairman Lau Swee Nguong.