Datuk Tan Kok Liang elected MATTA President

Posted on : 18-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Tan Kok Liang has been elected as the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president for the term (2017-2019).

The announcement was made at the 42nd Annual General Meeting of MATTA, Malaysia’s largest tourism association, held at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on July 15 July, MATTA CEO Phua Tai Neng said in a statement.

For more than 26 years, Tan has been a key driving force in the Malaysian tourism industry.

He was the chairman of MATTA Sabah Chapter (2009 – 2013) and thereafter as vice president Inbound & Domestic (2013 – 2017).

He received his early education in Perak, holds a Master’s degree in Tourism (University of Toulouse, France) and is a Chartered Accountant by training.

In his new role as president, he will continue to lead the association in raising the standard of the country¡¦s tourism sector and to strategically position MATTA members to capitalise on the expected increase in tourism numbers both inbound and outbound.

With a vision to ¡§Stay relevant so that all members thrive and become successful¡¨ and mission ¡§Creating business opportunities for members¡¨, the association will continue to grow, benefit members and further improve the landscape of travel and tourism for Malaysia.

Tan¡¦s firm manifesto which focuses on better business conditions and direct member benefit received overwhelming support from members that will ensure the success and progress of the association to serve members nationwide more effectively.

“My focus for the next two years will not only be to develop opportunities for members but, given my background and expertise, will also be to lead members in weathering the storms of change and to fight for better business conditions for the benefit of all,” Tan said.

During his time as MATTA vice president Inbound & Domestic (2013 – 2017), Tan has created numerous business opportunities for members through various sales missions both overseas and locally and other related activities for member benefits.

He has been outspoken on numerous issues affecting the tourism industry and has led the industry in engaging with relevant government authorities on pertinent issues such as tax exemptions, tourism incentives, amendments to the Tourism Industry Act, issues on illegal tour operators, sustainable tourism, and resolving Technical complexities and GST treatment with the Royal Malaysian Customs.

“The election of Datuk Tan Kok Liang as MATTA president is testament to the association¡¦s commitment to the growth of the industry in Malaysia,” MATTA Immediate past president, Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said, adding that he was confident that the new president would take the association to the next level of growth.

In a time of great economic challenges and uncertainty, Tan with his keen insight and dedication to the industry, is the most viable candidate to champion the rights of MATTA members in this coming term.


State is committed to better education, Yayasan Sabah to launch State Education Fund

Posted on : 13-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

Manhattan Suites at ITCC is a 19-storey serviced SoVo suite wing in ITCC-Penampang, developed by Sabanilam Enterprises Sdn Bhd.
The roof topping ceremony of the completed structure was held at the project site in ITCC on Monday, 10 July 2017, attended by Malakun Holdings Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Clarence Bongkos Malakun and Managing Director, Datin Seri Panglima Sylvia Wong Malakun.

According to Group General Manager, Mr Ceasar Mandela Malakun, Manhattan Suites was named to emulate the diversity of the population as well as the world class service that is usually associated with New York City in the United States of America. Bringing this concept to this part of Kota Kinabalu will further enhance the lifestyle of the local population as well as making a recognisable impact towards the growing tourism market visiting Sabah.

ITCC is envisaged to be a distinctive world-class development with a comprehensive range of amenities. This landmark development will have a gross built-up area of more than 1.6 million sqft, anchored by a 4-storey 675 units premium retail shopping mall, a 16-storey i-Office Tower, 19-storeys of 295 prestigious residential SoVo suite units and a 19-storey, 330-room, 4-star rated hotel. Located less than 10 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu International Airport, the iconic development will transform the landscape of Kota Kinabalu once completed.

ITCC aims to positions itself as a premier business and lifestyle hub in the Greater Kota Kinabalu zone and become a catalyst for growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector as its 16-storey i-Office Tower is aiming to secure approval as the first Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Cybercentre in East Malaysia.

Spreading over 10.5 acres of prime land, the integrated development will be a benchmark in high-speed broadband connectivity as it pioneers the use of fibre optic connectivity throughout the whole development. ITCC is envisaged to house incubators and academies to spearhead the ICT industry in Sabah.

“We’ve come to understand the millennial generation’s culture of work, play and lifestyle being intermingled and the lines that use to divide these aspects of life are now blurred for a better quality of life. This is where SoVo units can offer a solution,” said Mr Ceasar.

ITCC will also feature a grand 32,000 sqft Banquet Hall, which would be able to cater for over 170 dining tables. This will provide the community with a comfortable and modern venue to host an array of events such as weddings and celebrations. The versatility of the banquet hall would also allow to accommodate exhibitions, conferences and corporate events.

Manhattan Suites offer 24-hour security and state-of-the-art CCTV for the safety of owners and residents. The doormen, concierge and a live-in residential manager will ensure that the needs and requirements of the tenants are always met.

There will be an executive lounge adjoined to the lush lobby for tenants to conduct informal meetings or gatherings. For a more formal meeting or conference setting, tenants are given priority booking for the use of the meeting rooms. Owners are also given a free 1-year exclusive membership to Club M which shall give them access to the hotel facilities such as the swimming pool, spa and fitness centre. Each unit is provided its own allocated on-site parking spot while other facilities include children’s playground and laundry facilities.


The Shore to be new boom for tourism industry – Hajiji

Posted on : 12-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Rising private investments and expansion of tourism industry in Sabah’s real estate sector have led to a booming property market in Kota Kinabalu.

State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said the market had been resilient between 2008 and 2014.

“Over the past years, economic activities have remarkably improved since the implementation of Sabah development corridor projects, especially those related to tourism.

“The strategy under the tourism development is to target high-yield and long-stay visitors,” he said during the ground-breaking ceremony of Titijaya Land Berhad’s The Shore project here.

Hajiji added that the government also aimed to address property affordability via the “Malaysian My Second Home” scheme and had established an immigration office to facilitate registrations.

Meanwhile, on The Shore, which is Titijaya’s first project in the East Malaysia, will be completed by 2022.

Titijaya deputy group managing director Lim Poh Yit said the 25-storey serviced residence with 561 units has a gross development value of RM575 million.

The selling price starts from RM453,000 per unit with build-up sizes ranging from 409 to 541 square feet.

To date, the take-up rate of the sales is more than 50 per cent.


Titijaya launches first devt project in Sabah

Posted on : 12-07-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Titijaya Land Bhd has launched “The Shore” – a mixed-use waterfront premium class hub in Kota Kinabalu, with a gross development value of RM575mil.

In a statement on Tuesday, the company said the 25-storey building would comprise 561 residential and commercial units, with built-ups ranging from 409 to 541 sq ft and priced from RM453,000.

“Upon completion, The Shore will offer better-quality accommodation to the local community, boost Sabah’s business and spur tourism activities,” it said.

Titijaya said the project would benefit from factors such as its strategic location – 15-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and accessibility to the commercial centres and nearby amenities around the neighbourhood.
Deputy group managing director Lim Poh Yit said the company was confident that The Shore would become an iconic landmark in Kota Kinabalu, and would become a tourist attraction in Sabah, especially with the support from the state government.

“We foresee a positive demand for The Shore due to the encouraging economic growth and the increasing population in Kota Kinabalu, making it a new growth frontier as the property market matures in the region,” he added.


TM counts 27,000 SME entrepreneurs as customers in Sabah

Posted on : 11-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) counts about 27,000 entrepreneurs from the small medium enterprises (SME) sector as among its active customers for various products and services.
Executive vice president consumers and SME Imri Mokhtar said the number is part of the 40,000 SME entrepreneurs in the state.
He said it is important for SMEs, including those in Sabah, to innovate their businesses through mastering the use of technology and digital applications as among the best methods in enhancing the potential, as well as productivity of their businesses.
“Those SME entrepreneurs who use digital applications in their business enjoy doubling their growth compared to those utilising conventional methods.
“Imagine, all 40,000 SME entrepreneurs in Sabah enjoying this growth rate. For sure it will have an impact on their businesses and also contribute to the growth of the local economy.
“Through the digital application, the market for their products will not just be focused on Sabah but also overseas,” he told reporters after the launch of the SME BizFest 2017 here today.
The event was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who is also the state Minister of Industrial Development. He was representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Sabah is the fifth and last stop for the SME BizFest 2017 this year after Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Bharu and Johor Bahru.
Imri said Sabah was a permanent venue for the annual TM event to give SME entrepreneurs in the state an opportunity to explore the potential and new business based on the digital platform to expand their own businesses.
He said those SME entrepreneurs participating in the event are being offered various relevant digital products digital, apart from sharing in the success of a number of business icons who are using the digital application in their businesses.
Themed, “Innovate to Dominate: Go Digital”, the SME BizFest 2017 has also the support of SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd.
More than 1,500 SME entrepreneurs in Sabah are participating in it.
KOTA KINABALU: Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) counts about 27,000 entrepreneurs from the small medium enterprises (SME) sector as among its active customers for various products and services.
Executive vice president consumers and SME Imri Mokhtar said the number is part of the 40,000 SME entrepreneurs in the state.
He said it is important for SMEs, including those in Sabah, to innovate their businesses through mastering the use of technology and digital applications as among the best methods in enhancing the potential, as well as productivity of their businesses.
“Those SME entrepreneurs who use digital applications in their business enjoy doubling their growth compared to those utilising conventional methods.
“Imagine, all 40,000 SME entrepreneurs in Sabah enjoying this growth rate. For sure it will have an impact on their businesses and also contribute to the growth of the local economy.
“Through the digital application, the market for their products will not just be focused on Sabah but also overseas,” he told reporters after the launch of the SME BizFest 2017 here today.
The event was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who is also the state Minister of Industrial Development. He was representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
Sabah is the fifth and last stop for the SME BizFest 2017 this year after Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Bharu and Johor Bahru.
Imri said Sabah was a permanent venue for the annual TM event to give SME entrepreneurs in the state an opportunity to explore the potential and new business based on the digital platform to expand their own businesses.
He said those SME entrepreneurs participating in the event are being offered various relevant digital products digital, apart from sharing in the success of a number of business icons who are using the digital application in their businesses.
Themed, “Innovate to Dominate: Go Digital”, the SME BizFest 2017 has also the support of SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation and Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd.
More than 1,500 SME entrepreneurs in Sabah are participating in it.

Shell awards contract to Petra Resources

Posted on : 10-04-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Ltd has hired integrated brown field services provider Petra Energy Bhd to undertake the topside maintenance services for the Gumusut-Kakap and Malikai deepwater platforms.

It said on Monday it had signed a two-year contract with an option to extend for an additional year, with Petra Resources Sdn Bhd – a unit of Petra Energy – in Kota Kinabalu.

Petra Resources will provide contract management, site execution and offshore maintenance crew to undertake maintenance activities for the platforms.

Sabah Shell general manager Ian Lim said  the oil major  has a long history of successfully developing deepwater energy projects worldwide.

“We believe in sharing expertise with local energy companies as well as the government to help it to develop deepwater resources and the corresponding service industry, and also to benefit local economy and livelihoods of the communities where we have operations,” Lim said.

Petra Energy group CEO Datuk Anthony @ Firdauz Bujang said that topside maintenance and hook up commissioning is the group’s core competency.

“The signing today at the Sabah Oil and Gas (SOGCE) 2017 signifies the good working relationship we have with Shell in Sabah. We are proud to be recognized by a global energy company to undertake works for Malaysia’s deep-water assets,” he added.

Petra Resources will ensure local participation via its partnership with Sabah based company, Evolusi Bersatu Sdn Bhd.

Recall that Gumusut-Kakap was built entirely in Malaysia, allowing Shell to share its deep-water expertise to boost local companies and help the government create an offshore industry hub in the country.

It is Shell’s first deep-water project in Malaysia, which uses advanced Shell technology to safely produce oil from the Gumusut-Kakap field in seas 1,200 metres (3,900 feet) deep.

As for Malikai, it is Shell’s second deep-water project in Malaysia. It is the country’s first tension leg platform, a floating oil production facility moored to the seabed 500 metres underwater.

Sabah Ports and Taiwan International Ports ink MOU

Posted on : 05-04-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd and Taiwan International Ports Corporation, Ltd (TIPC) has signed a memorandum of understanding recently to explore business cooperation as well as look into strengthening bilateral port ties.

The MOU signifies a commitment from both parties to share port planning and operation strategies to enhance port performance and exploration of investment potential in Sabah.

“Over the past years, we have learnt of TIPC’s many programs of cooperation and long standing friendships with other port operators and we feel privileged that TIPC has agreed to collaborate with Sabah Ports.

“We are eager to have TIPC as our strategic partner at this opportune time as Sabah Ports is developing its Transhipment Hub initiative for Sapangar Bay Container Port (SBCP). Through this collaboration, we hope to convince TIPC on the great potential that the Ports as well as the State of Sabah, has to offer,” said Datuk Karim Hj. Bujang, chairman of Sabah Ports, during a briefing session for the delegation.

The MOU entered will benefit Sabah Ports as it seeks to engage the expertise of the well-established state owned TIPC, which manages 7 commercial ports in Taiwan and handled a total combined throughput of 225 million Twenty Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2016.

This augurs well for Sabah Ports as it embarks on the SBCP expansion plan which will upgrade the ports capabilities to handle 1.21 million TEUs during the first phase of development and upon completion, will have the ability to accommodate 3.76 million TEUs.

“The main goal of the MOU is to create the synergy of mutual expertise and advantages for seeking cooperation opportunity in all aspects. We would like to share our different experience in port operation, cruise tourism, Free Trade Zone, logistics, land development, knowledge of port planning and construction for SBCP” said Mr. Wu Men Feng , Chairman of TIPC.

Signing the MOU on behalf of TIPC, Mr. Wu further added that TIPC’s General Manager is expected to visit Sabah Ports for further cooperation evaluation.

The 7 ports managed by TIPC include ports at Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Hualien, Taipei, Suao and Anping. Signing on behalf of Sabah Ports was its Managing Director, Ms. Ng Kiat Min who is also the Group Managing Director for Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, while Karim acted as witness to the signing.


Handicraft woven from bamboo can generate RM20 mln for Keningau

Posted on : 05-04-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KENINGAU: Kraftangan Malaysia believes that handicraft woven from bamboo can generate up to RM20 million in revenue annually for Keningau with the right marketing and promotions.

Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the district’s fine, quality bamboo handicraft, such as bags and containers, had been attracting Asian and European tourists to buying it.

“Bags, especially those made by craftsmen from Kampung Batu Lunguyan using the Dusun traditional motifs, are durable.

“It is not impossible that the village comes to be known as the ‘Land of Bamboo’ as its handicraft is of the highest quality and can potentially penetrate the international market,” she added.

She told reporters this after officiating the state-level Kraf KampungKu programme in Sook, near Keningau here yesterday.

Also present was the Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department and Sook State Assemblyman, Datuk Ellron Alfred Angin.

Aside from Kampung Batu Lunguyan, Mas Ermieyati said Kraftangan Malaysia would also be assisting 15 other villages in Keningau, also producers of bamboo handicraft, to market and promote their products to achieve the RM20 million revenue target.

Aside from the Tourism and Culture Ministry, 28 other government and private agencies are also involved in the implementation of the state-level Kraf KampungKu programme.

It includes the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority and the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority.

Mas Ermieyati said that next year, Keningau district would be organising the Visit Keningau Year, which would include a large scale promotion of bamboo handicraft.

She also said that as of February this year, 3,960 handicraft entrepreneurs in Sabah had registered with Kraftangan Malaysia, of whom 1,098 are forest product entrepreneurs, with sales totalling RM4.69 million.

Meanwhile, Kraftangan Malaysia Director-General Zuraida Mokhtar said the agency had always emphasised on sustainable entrepreneurial attributes, to ensure that the handicraft business continue and remains competitive.

“The Craft Village project is not just about implementation. It includes a holistic approach, with product laboratories, guidance, quality advisory services, product design and marketing,” she added.


6th SOGCE focuses on preparedness for upside trend in oil and gas

Posted on : 02-04-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: “Opportunities and Growth in the Sabah Oil and Gas Industry – Harnessing Workforce Capability in Oil and Gas and HSE” is the theme for this year’s Sabah Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition (SOGCE).

The sixth edition of the event focuses on the preparedness for an upside trend in oil and gas industry in the context of workforce capability and HSE (Health, Safety and Environment), amidst challenging time.

Given the complexities and continuous disruptions in the global economy, building workforce capability emerged as the main challenge faced by organisations, including oil and gas companies, said Dolly Jimayol, organising chairperson for the 6th SOGCE in a statement here on Thursday.

SOGCE is fully supported by the Sabah government and PETRONAS, and endorsed by MIDA (Malaysian Investment Development Authority).

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman will be officiating at the 6th SOGCE on Monday, April 10 at 7:30pm, Magellan Sutera Resort here.

Dolly said: “With the participation of key oil and gas experts, this conference will discuss such meaningful topic with the objective to equip stakeholders with the right industry tools and technologies as well as human capital in order to meet upside demand when the oil and gas industry trends upwards.”

There will be keynote addresses to be presented by Ruslan B Abdul Ghani and Ian Lim. Ruslan is senior general manager, production and operations management, Malaysia petroleum management, PETRONAS.

Ian is general manager, Sabah Shell Malaysia. “We are glad to see increasing interest in this industry especially in the downstream activities albeit the challenging environment,” said Dolly.

That leads to the papers on “Opportunities in Downstream Industry”, “Petrochemical Industry Development – A Value-Adding Partnership”, “Composites Engineering”, “The Economic and Strategic Case for a Complex Refinery and Crude and Product Terminal in Sabah” and “Development of Petrochemical Park and its related infrastructure – Challenges and Experiences learned”.

She added: “Human capital development are essential components for any successful industry without exception to oil and gas industry, and in Sabah’s perspective, we are not spared with brain-drain or loss of talents.”

This is addressed with papers on “Accelerated Human Capital Development; Foundation to grow the Sabah Oil & Gas Industry” and “Professional & Competency Skills Workforce in Oil and Gas”, followed by panel discussion on “The Importance of Harnessing Workforce Capability”.

Dolly also pointed out that there are risks associated with every workplace, and safety of personnel is a priority. She said, “It is therefore very important to know and understand the leadership aspect in maintaining and sustaining HSE because this will have impact on workforce capability.”

This leads to the paper on “Leadership – Inspiring Safety & Environment Success in Major Projects” and further supported by the paper on “Safety Leadership – No Compromise”, followed by a panel discussion on “Health Safety and Environment – No Compromise”.

The main sponsor, Shell, will be taking the opportunity to showcase its Deepwater Technology and Operations at its Malikai Open Day room and the Gumusut-Kakap Booth.

There will also be other oil and gas companies and related companies showcasing their respective products and services, namely Sabah International Petroleum Sdn Bhd, Petra Energy Bhd, Sabah Oil and Gas Development Corporation, Novafast South East Asia Sdn Bhd, Transwater API Sdn Bhd, Timur Lube Sdn Bhd, TAS Institute of Oil and Gas, SEQU-TAS Offshore Safety Sdn Bhd, H Rosen Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd, Labuan International Business and Financial Centre, Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Maps and Globes Specialists Distributor Sdn Bhd among others. – PR


Titijaya opens first Sales Gallery in Lahad Datu

Posted on : 30-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

LAHAD DATU: The bus terminal that will be set up in the First Palm City Centre at a cost of RM3 million will enhance Lahad Datu’s transportation system and public amenities.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Mohd Nor said he believed the development of the bus terminal in this district will be much appreciated by the local residents as it would reduce traveling time for the local community within the town and across Sabah.

Hajiji added that in the future, the bus terminal will be able to ease connectivity between Lahad Datu and other areas in Sabah and consequently bring in a bigger crowd from neighbouring towns.

“Economic activities in Lahad Datu have been recovering since the dreaded invasion incident a few years ago. We have also seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting this area following the now-amplified security and safety system in place.

“The development of the Pan Borneo Highway will also be a boost to domestic business activities. Lahad Datu holds many promising prospects and it will be another area worth looking at after Kota Kinabalu,” he said at the ground breaking ceremony of the bus terminal and opening of the sales gallery for First Palm City Centre (FPCC) here yesterday.

Furthermore, Hajiji said the growth of the Lahad Datu property market was definitely encouraging as the district, which has more than 300,000 residents, boasts a ready market and a growing population.

With property prices ranging at moderate and affordable levels, Lahad Datu will be key to more developments in the future, he said.

“As the Minister of Local Government and Housing, I assure you that Lahad Datu will continue to prosper given the continuous efforts by the state government to achieve municipality status for Lahad Datu,” he said.

Hajiji added that the FPCC, which is a joint effort by the local government and private sector (Titijaya Land Berhad), will become a landmark for Lahad Datu upon completion.

The minister also praised Titijaya Land Berhad for believing in Lahad Datu’s prospects and urged more private companies to invest in Lahad Datu.

“We (state government) welcome more developers to initiate their projects here and we are willing to assist developers who are interested to embark on property developments in Sabah,” he said.

Titijaya Land Berhad Group managing director Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Soon Peng said the FPCC is a significant development in Lahad Datu, built on 58.8 acres of land comprising commercial shops, serviced apartments, office tower and the well-known Giant Hypermarket advantageously located in the town centre.

He added that the new FPCC bus terminal will be Lahad Datu’s main bus terminal to cater to intra-town and long distance buses and offer great convenience to the local community, enhance connectivity and spur tourism in the locality.

“The development of the FPCC is instrumental in providing a one-stop business centre for the community, with flourishing business potential and opportunities,” he stressed.

According to Lim, the bus terminal is expected to be completed within this year while the FPCC is expected to be completed within three years.


BNM Regional Office holds briefing on developments, outlook

Posted on : 29-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Regional Office Kota Kinabalu, conducted a briefing on the economic developments and outlook on 27 March 2017 in Kota Kinabalu, in conjunction with the release of the BNM Annual Report 2016. The briefing featured a presentation by Assistant Governor, Encik Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya on the current economic developments in Malaysia as well as the outlook on the domestic and global economic growth in 2017.

The Malaysian economy is projected to register a sustained growth of 4.3% – 4.8% in 2017. This would be supported by the gradual improvement in global growth, recovery in global commodity prices and the continued growth of domestic demand. Private consumption growth is expected to be sustained by continued wage growth and the increase in disposable income due to selected Government measures and higher global commodity prices. This is despite headline inflation projected to average higher in the range of 3.0% – 4.0%, given the prospect of higher global commodity and energy prices, and the impact of the depreciation of the ringgit exchange rate. Investment growth would continue, particularly in services and manufacturing sectors albeit at a modest pace due to the cautious business sentiment. The public sector is projected to support growth, driven mainly by higher public investment arising from the ongoing implementation of key infrastructure projects in selected sectors, amid lower public expenditure as a result of the Government’s continued commitment to fiscal consolidation. Both exports and imports are expected to strengthen in 2017, underpinned by the projected improvements in global growth, higher commodity prices and sustained domestic demand.

One of the issues raised and discussed during the briefing was the need to align housing developments to the needs and affordability of the people. In this regard, Assistant Governor Abu Hassan acknowledged developers’ efforts in supplying affordable homes in Sabah and stressed the importance of ensuring that this momentum is sustained. On a separate note, Assistant Governor Abu Hassan emphasised that firms, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), would need to enhance productivity through innovation, transitioning away from the low-cost business model to build a more balanced, resilient and competitive economy in Sabah. Tourism activities would continue to recover and offer significant opportunities to support Sabah’s services sector. A greater contribution from downstream manufacturing of resource-based industries, such as palm oil, mining and timber, supported by the implementation of Pan Borneo Highway and Sapangar Port expansion, would also unlock the economic potential of the State.

This briefing is part of BNM’s larger effort to give back and provide value to its stakeholders at its regional offices in Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and Johor. This initiative was well received and has entered its third year of implementation after the first round of briefings in 2015. Assistant Governor Abu Hassan’s visit to Kota Kinabalu entailed a briefing and an industrial engagement.

The briefing also provided an opportunity for the stakeholders to better understand the roles of BNM Regional Office Kota Kinabalu which include undertaking surveillance on economic and financial issues and implementation of BNM’s strategic agenda in Sabah. The regional office also conducts outreach programmes in underserved areas around Sabah to raise financial awareness and provide understanding on basic financial products. It is also an avenue for consumer redress among Sabahans.


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 www.cantonfair.org.cn (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.