Sabah keen to forge strong business partnership with Thailand to develop SMEs

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

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is looking forward to forge a strong business partnership with Thailand to develop the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.

“We have a big agenda to develop the SMEs in Sabah and it is always nice to have good partners as Thailand is very well ahead in the development of its SMEs,” said Tan who is also the Industrial Development Minister.

“We appreciate to have important friends from Thailand and this is just the beginning of many business exchanges that we are going to have in future,” said Tan during the ‘Thailand-Sabah Business Matching and Networking 2017’ at a hotel here yesterday.

He noted Sabah and Thailand shared many similarities as both also have the same objectives to progress and prosper together in developing the SMEs.

And the friendship between the entrepreneurs from Thailand and Sabah was further boosted when Thai Smile Airways launched its inaugural direct flight between Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu last Sunday.

“Now we have the air connectivity directly from Thailand and we anticipate the same kind of growth that we experienced with South Korea.

“I would think that in future, we get to see more products and things to be brought into Kota Kinabalu and I would suggest perhaps we could establish a Thai supermarket here,” proposed Tan.

At the same time, he said the local products produced by the SMEs here could also be promoted in the supermarket but before that happen we need to improve our quality first, and this is something the SMEs in Sabah could learn from Thailand.

“We have a big SMEs development agenda in Sabah and it is always nice to have good partners because Thailand had been very well ahead of us.

“And if we work together with Thailand, we could improve and match up our standard. And together with Thailand we could market our products in this as well as to Muslim countries,” enthused Tan who also invited the delegation from Thailand to visit KKIP.

He disclosed that now there is a Thai’s company operating in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) after the bought over F&N Beverages.

“I have proposed to the owner that their existing factory in Kolombong is too small and now they have bought an extra 28 acres land in KKIP,” revealed Tan.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Department of Industrial Promotion chief advisor Sukit Uarmahacharoen said during their visit here they have established a Thai food producer company-Pollawat Food has established partnership with local counterpart-Mama Food.

“Both the companies have the same pattern of industry and they saw some similarity in their recipes. And there is no need to think of investing as through the partnership they can share and learn from each other strength and weaknesses,” said Sukit.

And in order to be successful in the partnership, he said we need to form a friendship mindset only than we can move forward to explore the market beginning with the BIMP-EAGA region before venturing to other parts of Asian.

Sukit is one of the 18 delegates from Thailand led by head of mission Noppadon Oumnoi who is the director of management efficiency development division of the Department of Industrial Promotion. They are here to explore the business opportunities between Thailand and Sabah.


Raymond: Proposal to build drag race track at KKIP to support auto industry

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

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan Shu Kiah disclosed there is a proposed plan to build a drag race track at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP).

“We are planning to build an ‘Auto City’ at KKIP and it will be equipped with a 1km drag race track that meets the quality for tournaments,” revealed Tan who is also Industrial Development Minister.

He shared the purpose built race track is meant to support the industry such as spare parts suppliers, lubricants, accessories and others.

“We already have the project plan ready which we went over and learnt the design from Thailand who have a good drag race track,” said Tan during the ‘Thailand-Sabah Business Matching and Networking 2017’ at a hotel here yesterday.

The event organised by the KadazanDusun Chamber of Commerce & Industry Malaysia was attended by a delegation from Thailand led by Noppadon Oumnoi who is the director of management efficiency development division in the Ministry of Industry Thailand.

He said the proposed auto city hub will create a one-stop centre for auto vendors to set up their businesses and motor racing enthusiasts to race safely in a proper track.

“I will be working with KKIP to quicken the process and now that the delegation from Thailand is here, they can view the plan when they visit KKIP,” said Tan.

He believed with the help from Thailand expertise the race track could be materialised and once it is in place perhaps they can organise a series of races between Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu as now the direct air connectivity between both cities are made possible after Thai Smile Airways launched its services here on Sunday.

At the moment, the only drag race track available in Sabah is in Tawau where races are carried out at the old airport runway.

On another development, Tan asserted the proposed automotive hub in KKIP is still on despite its lack of activity where 200 acres of land was earmarked for the purpose.

He said the automotive hub is an important agenda as it is gear towards assembling vehicles and equipment.

“I will keep on working with all the prospects as we are working with Tan Chong who operated in a big way in Thailand and Boon Koon, a Kuala Lumpur based company to explore the possibilities,” he said.

We are hoping to develop the car industry at KKIP to supply the products to the BIMP-EAGA market.

“So we must be very careful to select a partner and we will also invite our friends from Thailand who is the World Number 9 in the production of automobiles to study the potential here,” called Tan.

He said the automotive hub will not only produce passenger cars but also trucks to support the construction industry especially now when heavy vehicles is very much needed to carry out the mega Pan-Borneo project.

“Once the project is completed we will have a very nice road connecting Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, by then more cars are needed, so I will keep the KKIP agenda for having the automotive hub,” said Tan.


Foreign interest will take Proton from local to global

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

KUALA LUMPUR: News that all bidders are still in the running to be Proton’s strategic foreign partner is a strong sign that many parties want to take the Malaysian car maker from local to the global market, a prominent geo-strategist said on Sunday.

Azmi Hassan said that looking at similar deals around the world, a number of details ought to be thrashed out at this stage of negotiations between DRB-Hicom Bhd as owner of Proton and the international bidders.

“Ensuring the leap for Proton from a local player to a global market brings into play many dimensions such as technology, platforms, new models and much higher volume manufacturing,” he told Bernama.

Azmi was commenting on a statement by DRB-Hicom Group Managing Director, Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, on Tuesday denying media reports that Proton is now left with only one foreign bidder as the prospective foreign strategic partner.

The statement did not reveal the bidders’ names but it is understood that they included China’s Geely Automobile Holdings and Europe’s second largest car maker Groupe PSA, which owns Citroen, Peugeot and DS brands.

Syed Faisal said Proton and the bidders were still locked in detailed and meticulous evaluation process and stressed the importance for Proton and the incoming strategic partner to create synergies that would ensure the success of the partnership.

Azmi said he believed that one issue on the table was the RM1.5 billion soft loan obtained by Proton last year from the government that had big conditions attached to it, as well as the relocation of all its manufacturing to one central hub in Tanjung Malim.

He cited the case of China’s Geely which was just a domestic brand in China until it took the bold step to buy out Sweden’s Volvo, a global brand, that enabled the company to double its earnings recently, thanks to its Volvo research and development advantage to boost Geely branded sales.

“On top of this, Geely’s net profit surged by 126 per cent, its biggest profit growth in eight years, and its share price has trebled over the past 12 months. And under Geely, Volvo has had a resurgence in selling cars globally compared to previously,” he said.

“On top of that, the China car maker also bought the London Taxi Co and their line-up of cars in China are actually world class, as much as PSA of France is big and is a strong contender for Proton,” said Azmi.

He said it was actually very crucial for Proton to have a strategic foreign partner that has a good business model with a vast market because without it, it would be “very tough” for Proton to expand into the Asian market moving forward.

“We all know about the Asian mentality of owning a car. So, this is a huge potential and within ASEAN alone the population has reached 600 million. I would like to see Proton reaching out well beyond the ASEAN market with its incoming strategic partner.

“And it is also very important for Proton to decide on its partner without any political pressure. It should only be based on a commercially correct decision,” he added.

He cited the case of Malaysia Airlines Bhd that had taken some bold measures to turn around its fortunes and likewise Proton’s decision on its future partner should be purely on a win-win basis and all sides ought to give support to the partnership.


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