Thai Smiles starts flying to KK

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Thai Smiles on Sunday made its inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu, its second destination in Malaysia after Penang.

Wiwat Piyawiroj, Assistant Executive Vice President, Commercial of Thai Airways (Pcl) said the cooperation in the opening of Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route between Thai Airways and Thai Smiles would mark the official milestone announcement to showcase the ongoing business model of the airlines between parent company and its affiliate.

“By providing this service, Thai Airways will be the distributor and marketer for the distribution of tickets and Thai Smiles will be the flight operator. This type of business will take place on several international routes that are due to launch this year. And we strongly believe that this cooperation will bring comfort to passengers traveling to various cities. In particular, the route that flies directly to Kota Kinabalu will bring about sustainable and profitable growth for both airlines,” said Piyawiroj.

Captain Woranate Laprabang, acting CEO of Thai Smiles revealed that the airline, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, the national carrier, was very proud to open the new route to Kota Kinabalu.

“It is acclaimed to be a major tourist destination of ASEAN region in the extent of the exuberance of nature. The tickets will be sold by Thai Airways while the flight will be operated by Thai Smiles. The first flight has commenced on March 26, 2017. The opening of this new route to Kota Kinabalu is considered one of the strategic priorities for us in the ASEAN region. Thai Airways and Thai Smiles are going to expand its growth in order to develop more international network of routes extensively. Furthermore, we are committed to increasing our customer’s choice to have a chance to travel to new destinations. Of course, we are confident that our reputation for excellent service will make both airlines the market leader in the near future,” said Captain Woranate.

Abdul Harris Hardy, director of Tourism Promotion Authority of Malaysia, Thailand’s office said this year the Tourism Authority of Malaysia aimed to attract 1.75 million Thai tourists to experience in the neighboring Malaysia with a variety of experiences.

“During January and October 2016, Malaysia welcomed 1.47 million Thai tourists, an increase of 34.4% from 1.09 million in 2015. The number of Thai tourists is accounted for number one  among the total number of tourists visiting Malaysia.

“With the potential of Kota Kinabalu tourism along with comfortable journey by Thai Airways and Thai Smiles will certainly increase the number of tourists from Thailand to Sabah, Malaysia,” he said.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai congratulated Thai Airways and Thai Smile for their expansion of network and adding Kota Kinabalu as the second Malaysian destination after Penang.

“This is a timely and welcome addition to our network of international flights into Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Opening up the Thai market is important for Sabah – we look forward to receiving young Thai nationals who love adventure, diving and the variety of food we have to offer, as well as the expats who are looking for new family destinations. Our natural attractions such as Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are ideal for long haul travelers from Europe. Bangkok is a popular destination for Malaysians, many are eagerly waiting for this flight to commence,” he said.

Thai Smile Airways operates in 10 domestic destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ubon Ratchathani, Udonthani, Suratthani, Narathiwat, and Krabi with one interline flight between Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The airline also operates 11 international flights to Siem Reap, Penang, Changsha, Chongqing, Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mandalay, Zhengzhou and Kota Kinabalu with a plan to further increase the flight frequency of domestic and launch new international routes.


Good governance vital to success of any organization – Musa

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The principle of good governance is vital to the success of any organization as without the culture of transparency, accountability and sound financial management, an organization will be subject to all kinds of problems that will pave the way for failure, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

When he first took office, Musa said, he directed all heads of state departments, agencies and Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to buck up.

“There is no reason for GLCs to not perform as they have state owned assets such as land and buildings. State agencies and GLCs should be enterprising enough to generate businesses and investments from these assets,” Musa remarked.

As a result of this hard line approach, he said, a number of state agencies have started to repay their loans and even hand out dividends to the State government.

“In 2016, the Sabah government received dividends of more than RM286 million,” Musa said.

Among the State statutory bodies and agencies that paid in 2016 are Sabah Development Bank, Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd, Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn. Bhd (SEC), Progressive Insurance Bhd (PIB), Sabah Credit Corporation, Sawit Kinabalu, Suria Capital Holdings Bhd and Asian Supply Base.

Musa said he had always applied the principle of ‘waste not, want not’ in managing the State’s finances.

“Resources and expenditures of the State are to be managed in a prudent, effective and efficient manner, in accordance with established financial regulations.”

Being a state with financial capability accredited with “AAA” rating for seven years in a row, Musa said, Sabah was competent to perform the entrusted responsibility.

“I am also confident that we can perform because we have an efficient administrative machinery in financial management which has been awarded with a ‘Clean Bill’ for 15 years.”

Musa said this when delivering his inaugural lecture entitled ‘My Vision for Sabah’ at an event organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) here on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Musa said, he always reminded civil servants not to be complacent just because they have performed well.

“There must be a strong sense of commitment and pride in delivering your services and with minimal red tape. Most important of all, the culture of behaving like Little Napoleons must be stamped out.”

Of course, Musa said, there is room for improvement as there are still some state departments, agencies and GLCs that needed to buck up.

“Last year, we saw the weakness of one particular state department that made Sabah famous for all the wrong reasons.

“We must admit that this has caused a huge embarrassment and tarnished all our other achievements. That is why I always remind those in the civil service, you must uphold integrity and honesty in your service to the people. There are loopholes in the system that must be plugged,” he reminded.

Musa also emphasized on the need for strong cooperation between Federal and State agencies in matters concerning project planning and implementation.

“The State must not be left in the dark and leaders must not let personal differences get in the way when making crucial decisions,” he said.

Musa said he had also frequently reminded elected representatives that good governance starts from the top.

“It is not enough to just sit in a meeting room to get briefings on what is going on in the kampungs or rural areas. You must go down to the ground. I have therefore, made regular visits to the various districts to hear about the progress of projects and programmes as well as problems in a particular area,” Musa said.

He pointed out that the title YB did not just mean Yang Berhormat, but also meant Yang Berkhidmat, or ‘At Your Service’.

“The job of YBs is to speak on behalf of their constituents, and to act as their eyes and ears.”


Canton Fair invitations available at KKCCCI’s office

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The 121th Session of China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) will be held at China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China on 15th April to 5th May, 2017.

Paper Invitation issued by the Canton Fair is available at the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KKCCCI) office.

The Canton Fair will be made up of National Pavilion and International Pavilion with categories: Exhibition category for National Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting Equipment, Vehicles & Spare Parts, Machinery, Hardware & Tools, Building Materials, Chemical Products, Energy; Phase 2 (April 23 – 27): Consumer Goods, Gifts, Home Decorations; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Textiles & Garments, Shoes, Office Supplies, Cases & Bags and Recreation Products, Food, Medicines, Medical Devices, Health Products.

Exhibition category for International Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics and Household Electrical Appliance, Building Materials and Hardware, Machinery and Equipment; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Food and Drink, Household Items, Fabrics and Home Textiles.

For overseas buyers, they can pre-apply for the first free Buyer Entry Badge (Buyer Card) via Buyer E-Service Tool (BEST) on Canton Fair’s official website and get it at the following locations: (1) Overseas Buyers’ Registration Office in Canton Fair Complex; (2) Appointed hotels in Guangzhou and nearby area; (3) Canton Fair Hong Kong Representative Office (Service is provided throughout the year).

Required documents for getting Buyer Card: -Valid original Personal Documents (Overseas Passport, H.K./Macao Home-return Permit, Taiwan Compatriot Travel Certificate, Valid ID as Overseas Chinese or a Chinese Passport with overseas employment visa valid for over one year) -Return Receipt of Buyer Card Pre-registration, or Paper Invitation or E-invitation of Canton Fair which is valid for you to get the first free Buyer Card -A most recent Passport Photo in a size of 5 cm x 4 cm -Business Card

The Buyer Card is valid for multiple sessions of the Canton Fair. If forgotten to bring along or lost, the new Buyer Card will cost RMB200 per card as service fee.

Canton Fair’s Guide is available for download from (click “Attendance Guide for Buyers”).

For those interested to visit the Canton Fair, please obtain the Paper Invitation of Canton Fair from KKCCCI Secretariat, Tel: 088-252312.


Sabah delegation in China to boost investment ties

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has the potential to become an important window for China to export its agricultural products to Southeast Asia countries due to its strategic location in the region, said Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Teo said Sabah has the support from the Federal Government to develop the State as a logistics hub in the region.

“Sabah, located strategically in the centre of the Southeast Asia region, can be an important window for China to export its agricultural products to the 600 million population in the region.”

He said the joint venture rubber plantation project between Bornion Timber Sdn Bhd and Guangdong Guangken Rubber Group Co. Ltd. was a successful example of collaboration between Sabah and China-based enterprises.

“I believe Sabah and China have much room to explore in terms of collaboration opportunities in the agricultural sector,” Teo said during his visit to the Department of Agriculture of Hubei Province in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Teo and Deputy Speaker of State Legislative Assembly, Datuk Johnson Tee, were invited by Malaysia China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Sabah branch led by its president, Datuk Frankie Liew, for a nine-day visit to China.

The 33-member delegation, comprising local entrepreneurs from various sectors including property, tourism and agriculture, left the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on March 4.

Their itinerary include visits to Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macau and other major cities in China where they will meet with government officials, chambers of commerce and entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities and collaborations.

During a dinner hosted by the Tong Daochi, the Vice Governor of Hubei Province, Teo also said that the business investments and collaborations between Sabah and Wuhan could be further enhanced with the establishment of friendship city ties between both places and the availability of direct flights.

He hoped that this visit would mark the beginning of a win-win relations between Sabah and Wuhan.

In a separate dialogue session with Hubei’s Housing, Urban and Rural Construction Department and property developers, Teo addressed the security concerns raised such as the missing MH370 flight, abduction cases and intrusion of Filipino militants into Sabah.

He said the increasing tourist arrivals showed that the negative impact of the missing MH370 to the tourism industry in Sabah two years ago had gradually diminished.

As for the security concerns, Teo said he recently accompanied the Chief Minister for an inspection in the east cost of Sabah and found the area to be very safe.

“As such, foreign investors need not worry about security issues in Sabah,” he assured.

During the four-day visit in Wuhan, the delegation has also met with officials from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Hebei Province, Hubei Provincial Tourism Development Committee and Foreign Affairs (Overseas Chinese Affairs) Office of Hubei Provincial People’s Government.

The delegation also visited tourist attractions in Wuhan, such as the Yellow Crane Tower (Huang He Lou), Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, museums, high technology development zone, free trade zone and Optics Valley of China.

Meanwhile, Liew hoped that the Sabahan entrepreneurs would take the opportunity to establish friendship with their counterparts in China in order to explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities.

“The purpose of organizing the visit to China is to open up collaboration opportunities for enterprises that complement each other,” he said.

Also present were MCCC Sabah branch advisor cum Sabah Timber Association president Datuk James Hwong, Kota Kinabalu Hokkien Association president Datuk Clement Yeh, Sabah Institute of Art (SIA) chief executive officer Professor Dato’ Dr Wilson Yong Tung Yung, MCCC Sabah branch life honorary advisor Datuk Lau Kok Sing, Sabah Tourism Federation (STF) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw, Political Secretary to the Minister of Special Tasks Peter Chong Su Leong and Liaison Secretary to the Minister of Special Tasks Albert Kok.


Titijaya teams up with CREC for RM575 million mixed-use joint development

Posted on : 27-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Property developer Titijaya Land Bhd is partnering China Railway Engineering Corp Ltd to jointly develop mixed-use project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM575 million on a 1.82-acre (0.74ha) land in Kota Kinabalu’s city centre.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony of several agreements, deputy managing director Lim Poh Yit said this is Titijaya’s maiden development project in East Malaysia.

“The reason we venture into Kota Kinabalu is because it is a vibrant tourism city and we can position ourselves to fit into the demand of the market here. Being able to bring in CREC (China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd) is also an advantage for us,” he said, adding that the construction of the project will start this year.

CREC managing director Wang Youping said CREC and Titijaya has built mutual trust and confidence after their first development project in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

“We said last year if there was a good project, we would collaborate [again],” he added.

Known as The Shore, Poh Yit said the project will be positioned as the new premium class waterfront hub, with luxurious residential and serviced residential units docked within a prime waterfront enclave.

The project will be 25-storey tall and comprise 561 units with built-ups ranging from 409 sq ft to 541 sq ft, with price tags starting from RM453,000.

The project is expected to be completed within 48 months from the start of construction, which is expected to be this year. To formalise the deal, Titijaya inked a framework agreement with CREC Development (M) Sdn Bhd yesterday.

Titijaya also inked a service residence management agreement with The Ascott Ltd for The Shore. Under the agreement, Ascott will manage the serviced residence component of the project for 15 years.

The announcement came after Titijaya proposed to buy Sri Komakmur Development Sdn Bhd for RM70.9 million, which has three parcels of land measuring 75.44 acres, with a cumulative market value of RM172.64 million and could fetch a total GDV up to RM1 billion.

The proposed buy will be satisfied by internal funds and bank borrowings. Titijaya group managing director Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng said the proposed acquisition will enable Titijaya to immediately gain access to several prime land within the high-growth and fast-maturing central development spine of Sabah.

As The Shore only takes up a small portion of the lands the company is buying, Soon Peng said Titijaya and CREC “are both keen to explore the possibilities of further collaborations in the property development scene in Sabah, to establish more new landmarks in the state”.

“The Sabah state government has also been very encouraging in promoting its tourism industry to make it another major source of income for the state, to drive its economy. All these efforts and catalysts shall certainly help to improve the demand for commercial and residential properties in Sabah,” he added.


Sabah has potential to become major maritime Transshipment Hub

Posted on : 16-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Both the Sepan­gar Bay Container Port and Port Klang have been earmarked as the two harbours that will turn Malay­sia into a logistics hub in Asean, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The Cabinet, said Liow, recently discussed making the country into a logistics hub for Asean, with Sepan­gar port playing a role in the growth area of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“Sabah is uniquely and strategically positioned within the Asean sub-region of BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area).

“The development of this location is highly dependent on the creation of inter-regional transport links that will make Asean the world’s eighth largest economy,” Liow said in his welcoming remarks at the Sabah Ports Forum here yesterday.

Also present was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Sabah, he said, was in an advantageous position as a staging hub for product distribution within Asean as sea routes from South America and Australia to China would favour the state due to its geo-strategic location.

But Sabah, pointed out Liow, needed to unlock its potential to become a major player in the maritime and logistics sectors.

“Issues such as the lack of manufacturing and downstream processing activities that have led to insufficient container volume need to be addressed,” he said, adding that currently, the volume of exports was only half of the imports, leading to ships returning half empty.

This, said Liow, gave no compelling reason for main line operators to call at Sabah ports, which led to containers being transhipped at Port Klang or other ports in the penin­sula.

The Government, he said, had approved RM1.027bil under the 11th Malaysia Plan to turn Sepangar Port into a transhipment hub that could boost connectivity to international markets, generate higher volume of cargo and attract shipping lines to call at the port.

Liow, who also visited the Sepangar Bay Container Port, said the Government was set to further liberalise the cabotage policy, which had been blamed for higher costs of goods in Sabah.

“As a responsible and caring one, I am pleased to inform that the Government is currently reviewing the cabotage policy for a further liberalisation mechanism to ensure affordable cost of goods and servi­ces,” he said.

(The cabotage policy requires all domestic transport of goods to be done by Malaysian vessels, which means that goods bound for Sabah and Sarawak will have to come in via Port Klang).

Liow said there had been a long standing debate on the root cause of higher prices of goods in Sabah, with many having attributed this to the policy.

However, he said a joint study by the World Bank and the Economic Planning Unit in November 2016 found that neither the policy nor the shipping costs were the main cause for the high prices of goods, which were instead due to weak distribution channels, high handling charges and inefficient inland transportation.


SOCSO makes RM7,337,941 in payments for 950 cases in Kota Kinabalu alone

Posted on : 12-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

TUARAN: The Sabah office of the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) made payment for 950 cases totalling RM7,337,941 from its Kota Kinabalu branch alone last year.

The amount for the whole state was RM 12,487,465 for 2,174. This was disclosed by SOCSO Sabah director, Ali Mohd Hindia at a ceremony to present cheques to six recipients at Pantai Dalit near here.

He said SOCSO or officially known as PERKESO was entrusted with enforcing the 1969 Workers’ Social Security Act and the 1971 Social Wokers’ Regulations (General).

“Through the Act and Regulations, SOCSO gives assurance on free medical care, physical or vocational rehabilitation facility, as well as financial benefits for the workers if they suffer from disability as a result of accidents or contacting diseases which result in them being less able to work or unable to work at all.

“If a worker dies, his dependents will get financial assurance through monthly pension so that life can go on,” he added.

Ali further also said SOCSO protects workers through two protection schemes – the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme and the Invalidity Pension Scheme.

“Under the Employment Injury scheme, a worker is protected against accidents at his work place, during travels related to work and occupational disease.

“Wheras the Pension scheme gives 24-hour protection to the worker against invalidity or death for causes unrelated to work,” he said.

At the Tuaran function yesterday, the six workers received their cheque from Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hj Hajiji Hj Noor who is also Sulaman Assemblyman and Federal Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau who is also Tuaran MP, witnessed by Ali.

The recipients were Wong Then Sang, Recherd Saimin, Guzman Monette Marcus, Nordin Madin, the late Ruslin Pie (represented by her father), and the late Sarnah Dualang (represented by her widower).

Also present were Assistant Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Zakaria Edris, the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Ginun Yangus, Tuaran district officer, AM Ibnu AK Baba, Sabah Central Board Member Datuk Francis Goh and Tamparuli Community Development Leader Datuk Jahid Jahim.


RM8 billion mega project for Sipitang, says Raymond

Posted on : 03-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: A “disappointed” Sabah will now turn to China and India after America’s abandonment of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said since the new President of the United States, Donald Trump, had made the ‘America First’ decision to dump the bipartisan trade policy, the state will follow the nation as it instead capitalise on Malaysia’s long forged ties with China and embark on the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

He noted that focus on the mega-regional economic agreement will open Sabah to 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and six free trade agreement partners, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

“We are disappointed because the first thing that he did was say ‘no’ to the TPP Agreement,” said the Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister, adding the TPP was a global and free trading key into America and South America when hosting a Chinese New Year luncheon at Sabah Today in Damai Plaza here yesterday.

“It is a disappointment because we want a bigger market. We want our CPO (Crude Palm Oil) to go to United States.

“We now look at the other alternative that China was promoting, the RCEP, which is a bigger package than the TPP Agreement as it involves 16 countries, covering more than 800 million people,” he said.

For now, Tan said, Sabah will put its America and South America penetration ambitions on hold and stay tuned to the new US President’s decision on global trading.

“The direction that Malaysia has taken is basically moving towards China now but it is nothing new as Malaysia, I believe, is probably one of the earliest ASEAN countries to enter into business with China.

“The other bigger market that we should actually look at is, of course, India. In fact, we are selling more of our CPO to India compared to China,” he added.

According to Tan, Malaysia had produced 15.8 million tonnes of CPO in 2015 and is currently hitting just about 20 million tonnes of CPO production.

He also affirmed that Sabah will continue on with its industrial agenda, gas, which includes the development of a second ammonia plant at that Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP) in 2017.

The project, estimated to cost between RM6 billion and RM8 billion, is poised to pull in a much bigger investment on a different chemical based downstream natural gas, Tan added.


Ninso to open 20 outlets in KK

Posted on : 25-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The RM2.50 store that won the hearts of locals proves to be more than just an affordable one-stop shop as it creates job opportunities for the community, including Thalassaemia patients.

Not only does Ninso maintain a flat rate inclusive of GST, it also provides employment for locals as each store requires at least 20 employees, said TCT Trading Sdn Bhd managing director Dato’ Tan Kar Leong.

He further said that in the next two years, Ninso plans to have 20 operating outlets in Kota Kinabalu, which will open up at least another 450 job prospects.

“Our employees are all local, and we believe that it is our responsibility to give our people a chance to earn a living in their homeland,” said Tan.

He added that TCT Trading, under its corporate social responsibility initiative, also employs Thalassaemia patients so that they have a stable income and means of supporting themselves.

“It’s better to help them in this way rather than just donating, because it benefits them more in the long run.

“As the saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” said Tan.

So far, TCT Trading has eight employees diagnosed with Thalassaemia, and they are all happy working for the company and enjoy what they do, according to Tan.

He also called on other business operators to follow suit, so that individuals with terminal conditions or different abilities can create a better life for themselves.

After the success of its first store in Kolombong, Ninso, which means “citizens,” launched its second outlet in KK Plaza following positive feedback from the public.

“The concept of this store is to provide goods that are affordable to all, especially in this economic downturn. I think our store can really help in easing financial burdens,” he said.

With a fixed price of RM2.50 on all items inclusive of GST, Tan believes that Ninso is a good concept which can benefit Sabahans.

Despite the affordable price, he made it clear that the quality of the products is maintained nevertheless.

“Even though we sell everything at a fixed price of RM2.50 with GST, we want to give our customers good quality products as well.

“That’s why there’s a 30-day warranty on all items, so if there are any problems we are more than happy to exchange it for a new one.

“We also have a 90-day warranty on electrical goods,” he said, explaining that Ninso is able to operate at a fixed price of RM2.50 because they acquire their supplies in bulk and pay in cash.

Tan added that all food products were imported from West Malaysia to ensure their halal status, while other items such as stationery, toys, plastic ware and kitchenware are imported from China, Indonesia or Thailand.

“We have around 7,000 different items in store, and we plan to expand our inventory to 12,000 so that we can better serve our customers and cater to their every need. The idea is to be like a supermarket which has everything, at a fixed price,” he said.

By early March, Tan said that they were planning to open a 12door Ninso outlet in Beaufort which would be their biggest branch, and another one in Keningau and 1Borneo Hypermall.

He said that all outlets were planned to be launched before April. They are all under construction at the moment.


Proton: Three foreign firms expected to make partnership offers as early as next month

Posted on : 22-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KUALA LUMPUR: THREE foreign carmakers are expected to make firm offers for a strategic partnership with Proton Holdings Bhd as early as next month, said Proton chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Kenali. He said the shortlisted foreign carmakers — which he declined to name — were expected to conclude their due diligence on Proton this month. “All the three shortlisted foreign carmakers are currently doing their due diligence. We expect this to be completed this month. “They are expected to come up with the binding offers next month,” said Ahmad Fuaad during Proton Ertiga’s media drive to Kuala Selangor yesterday. Proton parent DRB-HICOM Bhd reportedly narrowed down the choice of potential partners from about 15 originally to eight. The list was further trimmed to five before coming to the final three. The three are believed to be China’s Geely Automobile Ltd, as well as French carmakers Groupe PSA and Renault SA. The latter is part of the Nissan-Renault alliance. The company selected is expected to provide support in terms of advanced technology, global reach and economies of scale. The foreign partner, in return, will potentially be given a stake in Proton. Finding a strategic partner is one of the conditions set by the government in return for a RM1.25 billion soft loan given to Proton in March last year to rejuvenate its operations. The carmaker must find a partner by March this year. DRB-HICOM group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar had earlier said the group hoped to finalise the strategic partner for Proton by the first half of this year. Ahmad Fuuad hinted that the March deadline would have to be extended to possibly June. On the national carmaker’s sales, he said Proton was targeting a total of 120,000 units this year. It is banking on the new Saga, Persona, Perdana and the Ertiga compact multi-purpose energy efficient vehicle to help it rebound from sluggish sales performance last year. The company likely sold less than 100,000 units last year, partially due to the late launches of the four new models.


Resort goes greener with conversion to CNG fuel

Posted on : 19-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Energy Corporation (SEC) Sdn Bhd yesterday officially commissioned its ninth daughter station at the Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa (STARS) here.

SEC chief executive officer (CEO), Dato’ Harun Ismail, said STARS is the second hotel to receive the corporation’s compressed natural gas (CNG) after Sutera Harbour Resort. He added that the daughter station stores and supplies CNG, the cleanest form of fossil fuel, and SEC, the licensed distributor and seller of natural gas in Sabah and the Federal Territory of Labuan, has all-in-all 22 customers thus far.

“Sabah Energy Corporation has a proven track record in providing compressed natural gas (CNG) to its customers,” said Harun, after officiating at the commissioning ceremony at the hotel grounds yesterday.

“Today, we are pleased to include STARS, as our ninth customer, to our virtual pipeline system, which delivers CNG in a safe, reliable and effective method of energy delivery to industrial and commercial customers in Sabah,” he added.

According to Harun, SEC is committed to expanding the growth of natural gas supply by extending its CNG virtual pipeline system to various customers who are located in areas where there is limited or no existing network of gas pipeline.

In addition, SEC is optimistic that more companies in Sabah will enjoy the benefits of natural gas, such as clean burning fuel, relatively lower cost of fuel compared to diesel, LPG and MFO while reducing the carbon footprint of existing hotel resorts, factories and industrial processing plants.

“Based on the current diesel price, the savings would be in the region of 25% for the hotel if you were to compare it with diesel,” said Harun, adding that apart from lower energy cost and clean energy, the other unseen benefit will also be translated later on, in the reduction of maintenance cost of their machines because it is clean.

STARS general manager, Gavin Weightman, who also took part in the commissioning ceremony, said the cleaner, greener and very cost effective alternative to STARS’ diesel will run the hotel boilers, water heaters and operations.

He added, in terms of ringgit and cents, the hotel is expecting an 18 to 24 month investment return period depending on the price of diesel.

“The resort started using CNG last year. Since then, we have recorded some financial savings but this is irrelevant, compared to the significant reduction of our carbon footprint,” stressed Weightman.


Property investment entrepreneurship training centre launched

Posted on : 11-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Vproperties Club, the brainchild of 3VClassInternational Sdn Bhd, yesterday launched its property investment entrepreneurship training centre in its long-term goal to create a community well versed in properties.

Its founder, president and group chief executive officer (CEO), Dato’ Seri Ahmad Khusairi Bani Hashim AlHaj said the centre would be used to train and guide those interested to learn property investment as a way to make a living or even to pass on the knowledge gained.

“Sometimes there are those who wish to venture into the property industry but just don’t know how to or where to start.

“That’s where we come in. Our role is to provide a platform to let those who wish to gain the knowledge and skills it takes to become property industry players,” said Ahmad Khusairi.

He said the gradual training provided would be packed with practical information, with the ultimate goal to bring training graduates together in a real estate apprentice community to explore the global property market, through the company, 3VClassInternational.

Its CEO, Mustapa Baba, said the Vproperties Club had enrolled some 300 members, most of whom were in Sabah, with members in Peninsula Malaysia, and a handful in Brunei, Indonesia and Cambodia.

The club, he said, was formed on December 21 last year in Sabah, with branches in Shah Alam and Kota Kemuning.

“Through the training programme and eventually the community, we aim to build a community of one million strong by 2020.

“We hope and encourage those who enrol and graduate from the training to share what they’ve learned with their family and friends,” said Mustapa.

Ahmad Khusairi said the panel of trainers engaged for the programme comprised bankers, lawyers and other professionals so as to impart all angles of knowledge in properties on those enrolling.


China, Taiwan tourist arrival to Sabah expected to increase 20%

Posted on : 09-01-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Arrivals from China and Taiwan into Sabah are expected to break the half million mark this year.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming expects a growth of 15% to 20% in China and Taiwan arrivals for 2017.

This is based on the overall arrivals from top market China of roughly around 370,000 to 380,000 in 2016 and the increasing number of airlines expressing their interest to open direct international routes into Sabah this year, he added.

“We expect this year the figure will increase, and including Taiwan (arrivals), will reach more than half a million. Last year, for Taiwan and China, (the) figure was more than 430,000,” said Pang.

“We have been approached by a lot of airlines to open routes into new areas, particularly from Chengdu, Xiamen or even the northern part of China. We are certainly going to receive more tourists from China,” he assured.

The assistant minister said this during the Xiamen Airlines’ Fuzhou to Kota Kinabalu inaugural flight ceremony at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) here yesterday.

“We have been lobbying for this flight for more than one and a half years just to get Xiamen (Airlines) to fly to our place,” revealed Pang.

“We expect more airlines to follow suit. Take for instance Guangzhou (destination), in a short time only, (China) Southern Airlines has increased another two flights here,” he added.

Also present at the ceremony was Xiamen Airlines Kuala Lumpur Office general manager Guo Yuan.


Chan Furniture aims to open 100 outlets by 2020

Posted on : 27-12-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Chan Furniture has become one of the leading furniture and electrical merchandize chain stores in Malaysia.

Despite its success, the company will continue to work hard and achieve its vision that will benefit the nation and community as a whole. With more new branches being opened up, the company believes this effort can bridge the unemployment rate among locals.

Chan Furniture’s mission is to open a few new branches a year and achieve considerable growth on overall total sales turnover annually.

“We believe that the best synergy formula for success is on elements that involve good customer service,

loyal customer support, affordable price, wider product ranges, easy payment scheme and dedicated loyal workforce,” it said in a statement yesterday in conjunction with its 30th anniversary celebration recently.

Chan Furniture has 74 outlets throughout the country with 17 in Sabah, 10 in Sarawak, 11 in Johor , 10 in Selangor, 11 in Melaka, six in Northern and nine in East Coast.

It aims to open up to 100 outlets by the year 2020.

With the continuous expansion program, the company has also introduced showroom based career option to aspiring Malaysians who are interested to develop their career in the retail industry.

Among the most sought after posts include management trainee which serves as the starting platform to other posts, including product manager.

Currently Chan Furniture has a total of 1,100 full-time staff and most of them have been serving for more than 10 years with the company.


Tap into Belt and Road Initiative – MCCC (Malaysia China Chamber of Commerce)

Posted on : 20-06-2016 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

The growing business and trade opportunities of China’s ‘belt-road’ have had many groups scrambling to get noticed.

CHINA’S well-promoted “One-belt, One-road” (belt-road) regional economic initiative that promises abundant business and trade opportunities has brought about unintended chaos and tension among local groups linked to China trade.

Over the past several months, at least four new local organisations were set up with objectives to do business with China and to tap into belt-road opportunities.

Malaysia-China Belt-Road Chamber of Commerce, set up three months ago and headed by former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat, is one such non-governmental organisation. The other is Asean-China Chamber, which was set up last September by Hua Zong’s former president Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong.

The overlapping functions and objectives of these new NGOs and existing Chinese chambers in Malaysia are reportedly causing confusion to officials and businessmen from China as they are unsure which organisations are authentic, reliable and representative.

Each is now battling for attention from the republic.

Meeting of minds: Bong (seated, right) receiving a high-level business delegation headed by Yeoh Kian How (seated, left) from the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, a project mooted by the governments of China and Malaysia in 2011.

Previously, Chinese guilds and chambers had complained of having to entertain too many delegations from China. But they are too happy to embrace them now, with China actively implementing its belt-road programmes.

The belt-road initiative, first announced in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, will see China’s corporations and their foreign partners building roads, railway lines, ports and power grids badly needed in many parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It will also facilitate its own industries to invest and broaden its market in these countries, and vice versa.

The belt-road economic strategy covers 65 countries populated by 4.4 billion people. It is projected that infrastructure development alone will bring in investment of US$160bil (RM624bil) and China’s annual trade volume with belt-road countries, among which is Malaysia, will exceed US$2.5 trillion (RM9.75 trillion) in a decade or so.

Among the local existing organisations that are battling keenly for attention from China are the influential Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) and smaller Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC).

Both are established business NGOs in the Chinese community. While ACCCIM represents all Chinese state chambers in Malaysia, MCCC groups traders and investors who do business with China.

These two NGOs have overlapping membership and their leaders used to work closely, but not anymore.

This is mainly because MCCC has refused to bow to pressure to alter its Chinese abbreviated name, which sounded quite similar to ACCCIM’s short-form in Chinese.

ACCCIM, which is raising its profile as the leading apex Chinese business NGO in Malaysia, argues that China’s important agencies have often mistaken MCCC for ACCCIM due to the adoption of abbreviated names.

It is learnt that leaders of both groups had recently held lunch talks to resolve this “name” issue but there was no outcome. Meanwhile, they have gone to the press to present their arguments.

Good read: Bong reading an issue of the Malaysia-China Business Magazine which has a circulation of 10,000 and is given free to members and authorities in China.

Datuk Bong Hon Liong, president of MCCC, says in an agitated tone: “Do you change your name if others tell you to do so? MCCC’s name was endorsed by our members. We started using our abbreviated name earlier than ACCCIM’s. Can I then agree to change our name just to please ACCCIM, just because they are a bigger group?”

“We are a specialist body with many members dealing with China trade since the 1960s. We have played a very important role in promoting bilateral trade and investments. All major government agencies in China know us. And in recognition of our contributions, I was invited to be Malaysia’s sole observer at China’s two most political meetings last year,” Bong tells Sunday Star.

This year, China’s government invited Datuk Ter Liong Yap, the president of ACCCIM, to its two meetings that deliberated and endorsed major policy decisions for the Middle Kingdom.

Bong believes that beneath the current squabble over a “trivial” issue is the battle for quanxi (relationships) with influential Chinese officials, as well as vast business and investment opportunities seen in belt-road economic programmes.

There have been cases that leaders and active members of Chinese guilds were awarded lucrative projects in the past. The most recent example is a one billion yuan (RM604mil) desert-greening project awarded to a company jointly owned by MCCC vice-presidents Datuk Lim Heng Ee and Ngan Teng Ye.

“China is huge and opportunities offered by the belt-road are aplenty. We are no threat to anybody. Each organisation can do what it wants,” states Bong at the MCCC office in Fraser Business Park, Kuala Lumpur.

However, MCCC is also in the limelight now due to its coming tri-annual election on June 26. It is widely known that the authorities from China and Malaysia hope the new leader will be a non-controversial person with a clean background.

For this, MCCC is facing a dilemma. While it does not want outsiders to interfere in its election, the views of the authorities cannot be ignored.

At issue is that one of the potential candidates for the MCCC presidency is a businessman who had spoken up against China on the massacre of pro-democracy students in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, and those opposing him have kept reminding members of his background.

Bong, who has led MCCC for two terms totalling six years, has to step down after the June polls due to a restriction in the constitution.

The election is expected to be a heated affair. Most potential candidates had voiced their desire to contest as early as last June. To boost support, many new members have been brought in. As a result, the MCCC membership has shot up by 600 to about 2,000 now, from 1,400 last June.

“It is a good thing that people are watching us and showing concern for our coming election. This shows that MCCC is important and we must have done a lot of good work for the community and two countries,” quips Bong.

Indeed, MCCC’s most visible contribution to bilateral trade is its yearly painstaking organisation of business delegations to attend Canton trade fairs in Spring and Autumn. This is where many start-ups in China trade make their “first barrel of gold”.

During the tenure of Bong, who has textile and garment factories and property developments in China since the 1980s, MCCC opened up its membership and saw influx of Malay and Indian entrepreneurs keen to do business with China. There are now 200 of them in MCCC.

In a two-hour interview, the 68-year-old business management graduate of the now-defunct Ngee Ann College of Singapore also talked about issues linked to bilateral trade with China and the South China Sea dispute:

> What have been your notable achievements during these six years as a leader of MCCC?

In my first year, I revived the investment seminars started by the late Tan Sri Ngan Ching Wen when he was president. Instead of a one-off event, I made this into an annual affair. The sixth Malaysia-China Economic Conference this year, to be attended by 2,000 people, will be held in Chengdu in November. Participation from Asean nations is expected.

We have also successfully attracted the non-Chinese to be our members. Currently, there are 200 of them. We are aiming to get more so that they will form 30% of our total membership. MCCC wants to be a truly multi-racial organisation.

Two years ago, we began to actively mobilise Malay and Indian small and medium enterprises to join us to attend Canton trade fairs and other expositions.

Every year, we organise about 50 trade and investment delegations to China. Every month, we receive 20 delegations from the Chinese government and private sector.

We have also started working closely with MCA to organise 100 belt-road roadshows to help people understand the opportunities available. Up till now, we have conducted over 60 roadshows.

We have published various books on belt-road. We have also published a major commemorative coffee table book and held a series of seminars to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Malaysia-China ties.

Our well-known quarterly Malaysia-China Business Magazine, which carries topical issues on Malaysia and China, has a circulation of 10,000 and is given free to members and authorities in China.

Due to the close attention paid to policy decisions and developments, issues linked to China are at our finger-tips and many of us are China experts.

Last year, I was invited to be Malaysia’s sole representative at China’s “two meetings”. I was also one of the speakers at the function.

> What can we expect your successor to be like?

The new leader should love Malaysia and embrace China. He must have genuine sentiment towards these two countries. He must also be well-versed with issues and policies of these two countries so that he can play his leadership role well.

For the past six years, I have put aside my business to focus on MCCC work but this type of devotion is not easy to match. However, people who are not prepared to devote time and energy to make contributions to the chamber should take a break from this coming chamber election.

At the moment, I am staying neutral in the election. I am aware of the talk that I was supporting one candidate, but this is not true. I am leaving the decision to the wisdom of our members.

(Tan Yew Sin, who controls INTI Universal Holdings Bhd, is one of the potential candidates. The other two vice-presidents vying for the top post are Datuk Lim Heng Ye of Global Green Synergy and Liew Choon Kong of Kong Wooi Fong Tea Merchants Sdn Bhd.)

> Do you see MCCC as facing challenges in terms of selecting the right leader?

Yes, indeed. All pioneers of China trade and founders of the chamber have either retired or are gone. We harbour special sentiment towards China as this country had helped us prosper. I go to China 40 to 50 times a year on business or chamber work.

However, the old giving way to the young is a natural progression. In Chinese, we say new tides in Yangtze River will push away old tides. As an out-going leader, I have to accept this reality.

If the new leader is weak and not capable, there will be adverse impact on the chamber. And if a leader is not devoted, it can also spell trouble. It means that in time to come, other organisations with similar objectives will shine and rise above us; and we stand still, MCCC may lose its current status and fall into oblivion.

> Are you aware that officials outside are following developments in MCCC election?

Via unofficial channels, we have been informed of their wishes to have a non-controversial leader. But it is all up to our members to decide.

It is a good sign that people have high expectations of us. It means we must have played our role very well and we must have done a lot of good work to deserve such high level attention.

If nobody pays attention to an organisation, it means that it is insignificant. It is an achievement on our part if others are showering attention to us.

> What are the prospects of Malaysia-China bilateral trade and investments?

Bright, as long as Malaysia maintains a close relationship with China and welcomes Chinese investments in its bid to improve its economy.

China will continue to march forward in expanding trade with Malaysia and other nations, and pouring investments into countries along the belt-road route. In Malaysia, they are making good their promise to buy our government bonds and implement their planned investments this year.

But due to the current economic slowdown in Malaysia and China, the shared goal to achieve total bilateral trade of US$160bil (RM624bil) by 2017 may have to be pushed back to 2020. (In 2015, total bilateral trade was slightly under US$100bil (RM390bil).

The impact of Chinese investments in Bandar Malaysia, Malacca, Kuantan and East Malaysia could only be felt later. Both the governments and people will have to work hard to achieve this goal.

> What is your view on current China?

China’s administration is carrying out four strategies: pushing for economic transformation and targeting an average annual income of US$10,000 (RM39,000) per person; improving its legal system to emphasise the rule of law; eradicating poverty; and wiping out corruption.

The catch here is that China dares to tackle poverty and corruption. Jack Ma (of Alibaba Group) has said that there is future in China because its leaders are bold enough to implement policy decisions on these two thorny issues that many other countries shun away.

My view is: once more Chinese nationals get richer, domestic demand will soar and China will have to import more goods and services to cater for their needs. This will benefit all its trade partners, including Malaysia. Indeed, there are many Malaysians setting up legal and accounting firms in China now.

> Do you think the current tension in the South China Sea will explode into a full-scale war?

I don’t think so. It seems to me all super powers do not wish to go to war.

History has shown that China is a peace-loving nation. It has always kept to its long-cherished principles of peaceful co-existence.

China has stated it will not fire the first shot. And I believe in its stand. But if others do so to the extent of undermining China’s sovereignty, China will have to react to defend itself.

However, the chances of an outbreak of war are slim, unless the United States and Japan play tough in this region.

Now that China is a stronger nation in defence and has become the world’s second largest economy, it will not stand idle to allow other countries to bully it like what had happened in the past.

It is understandable that it wants to exert its influence via economic expansion and penetration now.