KOTA KINABALU, Dec 3 — Since its launch in 2008, the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) has attracted total cumulative investments of RM150.7 billion as at Sept 30, 2015, out of which RM55.1 billion have been realised.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) has continued attracting investments into SDC in spite of the challenging global economic environment.
Speaking at Sedia’s 20th meeting, Musa who is also state Finance Minister and Sedia chairman, said Sabah was emerging as an attractive destination for investors due to the state’s strategic location in the heart of ASEAN.
“Sabah can serve as an ideal gateway to the dynamic East Asian economies, and potentially to the Asia-Pacific region, with the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations,” he added.
Musa said as at Nov 15 this year, disbursement for SDC projects under the Ninth and 10th Malaysia Plans from 2008-2015 period was estimated at RM1.732 billion or 93.38 percent of the total allocation of RM1.854 billion received by Sedia.
In a related development, he said Sabah managed to record a trade surplus of RM6.8 billion in the first eight months of this year, only a slight drop compared to the same period last year.
Export volume of crude petroleum increased by 45.3% to reach RM10.4 billion over the same period.
Musa said the SDC had certainly served as a catalyst and the engine of growth in realising the state’s economic aspirations, and economic activities in the state had proven to be resilient.
During the second phase of the corridor, he said Sabah’s economy consistently achieved higher growth, narrowing the gap with the national economy.
In 2011, he said Sabah’s economic growth was 2.1% while Malaysia’s growth was 5.3%, but by 2014, its economic growth had increased to 5.0 per cent against the national growth of 6.0%, thus narrowing the gap.
“Sabah’s economy is now increasingly diversified, with the services sector gaining greater significance,” he added.
Musa said the mean household income per month had increased from RM2,866 just prior to the launch of the SDC to RM4,879 in 2014, while unemployment declined from 5.6% in 2011 to 4.7% in the same period.
Going forward, he said Sedia would place greater emphasis on ensuring seamless movement of people, goods and services.
“This emphasis is timely as the state transforms into a diversified, knowledge-intensive with a higher value-added economy,” he added.
He said efforts would be directed especially towards enhancing the efficiency of the logistics sector by improving the relevant infrastructure and the integration of land, sea and air services.
Aggressive measures had been taken to boost the available pool of skilled labour in Sabah including Sedia collaborating with many educational and skills training institutions, said Musa.
On the meeting, Musa said it was timely and an opportune time for Sedia to take stock of the performance of SDC during the second phase while setting the direction and strategies for the next phase.