KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Haji Noor formally announced the setting up of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) comprising of industry players, academicians and NGOs to complement efforts in pursuit of Sabah’s economic recovery.
Hajiji made the announcement after chairing the council’s special meeting at the Sabah Administrative Centre here today.
“The SEAC idea was mooted when the GRS State Government took over the helm.
“Since October last year, the council has lost no time in bringing together members comprising industry players, academicians and NGOs to brainstorm on way forward for the state’s economic recovery,” he said.
Hajiji who is also Finance Minister said the SEAC was a voluntary effort by appointed members who have agreed to give their service to the state in an advisory role to complement the state government’s efforts to pursue economic recovery.
“On behalf of the State Government, I applaud their willingness to help and I look forward to fruitful contributions by the SEAC,” he said.
The SEAC is led by Tan Sri David Chu Sui Kiong with Datuk Tan Kim Beng as secretary.
Members of SEAC are Tan Sri (Dr) Goh Tian Chuan, Tan Sri Andrew Liew Sui Fatt, Datuk Seri Clarence Bongkos Malakun, Prof Datuk Dr Kasim Md Mansur, Datuk John Lo Thau Fah and Datuk Ismail Abdullah.
Chairman’s liaison officer is Haji Abdul Rahman Md Tahir.
Hajiji said plans must be put in place and turned into actions once the Covid-19 pandemic subsided.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused economic chaos everywhere and we in Malaysia were not spared. While the government has made all efforts to deal with losses and hardships suffered by almost all strata of society wrought by this pandemic, we must remain steadfast and resilient,” he said.
According to him, the State Government’s development blueprint known as the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (Development Plan 2021-2025) is in the final stages of finalisation and will be tabled soon.
“The Hala Tuju SMJ Development Plan will see the involvement of the private sector and this is where we look to the SEAC, among the vehicles to bring change and transform our economy,” he said.
Hajiji added that he met with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several other federal leaders during his visit to Kuala Lumpur last week.
He said the Prime Minister was receptive when he brought up Sabah’s needs and priorities for the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (RMK12).
“The aim of my visits was to forge greater cooperation and to work closely with our federal counterparts. Among them to boost inflow of domestic and foreign investments in Sabah in particular, to bring in more new investments to Sabah.
“Our target is to improve the value of investments approved, recorded at RM11.7 billion for the first quarter of 2019 and to prove that Sabah will continue to be an attractive investment destination for foreign investors,” he said.
Towards this end, the Chief Minister was heartened to learn that the SEAC has made some strides in identifying potential investors who look forward to invest in Sabah.
“I am told that the council will visit China once this pandemic subsides to promote investments to Sabah. The good China-Malaysia and Sabah relations bode well for greater investment potential,” he said.
Hajiji has full confidence that the feedback and recommendations from the SEAC would be the way forward for the State Government.