KOTA KINABALU (Nov 29): Sabah has a very strategic geographic location, surrounded by vast ocean of 37,300 square kilometres and a continental shelf covering an area of 116,800 square kilometers as well as a coastline of 2,383 kilometers, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.
“To benefit from this advantage, the way forward agenda for the state development under the SMJ Development Plan has made the Blue Economy as its new focus,” he said.
He explained that the Blue Economy refers to the sustainable benefit of marine resources for economic growth, improved standard of living and job creations, while also looking after the marine ecosystem sustainability, in addition to promising vast potentials in various fields.
“Among the fields identified for Sabah are fisheries and aquaculture, shipping and transportation, tourism, renewable energy, mineral resources, biotechnology and pharmaceutical, blue carbon, waste management and pollution control, research and growth and marine infrastructure,” said Hajiji in his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting on Wednesday.
He was represented by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Abidin Madingkir.
Hajiji added that the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, had announced during the tabling of the 2024 Budget that the State Government will be organising an international conference in February 2024.
As preparations for the international conference, the SMJ Secretariat will be organising the “Synedrio Sabah Maju Jaya: Penerokaan Khazanah Baharu Melalui Konsep Ekonomi Biru di Negeri Sabah” with the theme “Beyond Limits Unleashing Economy” on December 14, 2023, he said.
He added that the focus of the conference is to unravel and subsequently produce a Blue Economy framework for the state.
About 200 people from various sectors such as the government, NGOs, industry players, academicians, politicians and members of the public from within and outside Sabah will attend the conference.
The panelists who would be presenting in the conference will comprise of experienced and experts of the Blue Economy at international level.
The outcome of the conference will provide exposure, understanding and awareness to all stakeholders to enable the State Government to produce an inclusive framework and can be implemented, said Hajiji.
Meanwhile, a roundtable discussion session led by the Sabah Maju Jaya Secretariat will be held on December 15.
“The aim of the roundtable is to draw up the Blue Economy action plan framework as early preparations for the international conference to be held in February 2024,” he said.
The Blue Economy issue was raised by Lamag, Kawang and Segama assemblymen during the August House sitting.
The Blue Economy was introduced in 2012 by the United Nations by focusing on sustainable management of sea and coastal resources so that it is more productive and becomes healthy marine ecosystem.
The Blue Economy was included in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), 2021-2025 as one of the approaches to spur the country’s economy.