KOTA KINABALU: Commerce and industry in Sabah and Sarawak has been held back by the federal government’s tendency to place more emphasis on development in the peninsula.
It has led to not only a slow growth of this sector but also a lack of business opportunities.
The Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) which pointed out the problem said it was therefore heartening that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has been proposed as the prime ministerial candidate.
Its president Datuk Chong Hon Len who supported the idea hoped that the dire situation faced by commerce and industry would be addressed if Shafie went on to assume the nation’s top job.
“The future development of Sarawak and Sabah can have a positive impact on Malaysia as a whole,” he said, adding, “taking full advantage of these two states can directly increase GDP.”
Towards this end Chong pointed to Sabah’s proximity to China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean growth area (Bimp-Eaga) area.
“It is very suitable as an international trade and export center. I believe that the advantages of this location can be used in the future to develop local industry and create more business and employment opportunities.”
In terms of resources, he pointed out that Sabah is a state with abundant natural resources.
“Unfortunately, most raw materials are processed outside the country, this is an unhealthy phenomenon.
“Industry in East Malaysia that lacks value added processing also means that there are fewer opportunities for local people.”
Chong said to improve this situation, Shafie had launched an agricultural development blueprint earlier to ensure the local industry can have more room for development and explore more business opportunities.
“I am very grateful for the contribution that Shafie has brought to the people of Sabah, and hope that his enlightened and positive leadership style can carry the country forward,” he said.