Sabah Gets US Pledge For More Investments; Student Programmes

Shafie Apdal and Kamala Shirin Lakhdir exchange ideas as to what the US could do in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir has pledged to promote Sabah to American companies to attract more investments to the state.

She said there are many US companies operating in Sabah at present but hoped more firms would come and invest in the state in the future.

“We have some companies (operating) here in Sabah particularly in oil and gas,” she told reporters after making a courtesy call to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal at his office Thursday.

“Some of them have been here for a very long time. We also talk about corporate social responsibility and how we could introduce more US firms to the state.

Lakhdir said foreign direct investments is very much driven by private firms usually and their objectives and interests in working in particular areas “but I will promote and introduce the firms to Sabah and (highlight) the opportunities available here.”

Also present was Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Christina Liew.

Lakhdhir said the US has the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in Kuala Lumpur, composed of US firms, to support both American firms in Malaysia and the US in looking at more business opportunities in the country.

She believed there were more business opportunities for US firms to invest in Malaysia as well as in Sabah.

“What I would do when I meet many companies that are both already in Malaysia or thinking about investing in Malaysia, is to describe the environment, what is happening in Sabah and other places, and hopefully they (US companies) will come and explore what are the opportunities here in Sabah,” she added.

Lakhdhir also briefed Shafie about the past and present cooperation and collaboration between the US government, US Embassy and Sabah in environment, education, English language and security and she hoped to carry on and enhance this cooperation.

Earlier, on Wednesday during the America Day Field Trip at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here, she said the United States hopes that more Sabahans will sign up for its student exchange programmes.

According to Lakhdhir, although relations and collaboration between Malaysia and the US were considerably strong, she would still like to see greater engagement between both countries.

“For instance, we want to encourage more Sabah students to take up various student exchange programmes with us, especially at the secondary level,” she added.

Lakhdhir said the embassy focuses on English language and other educational subjects to engage students.

Meanwhile, the event held in conjunction with US’ Independence Day featured an English creative teaching workshop, an education talk, science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes, skateboarding and student exchange topics, among other activities.