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      02 April 2019  

SEDIA discusses with Belgium Ambassador on investment collaboration potential

Kota Kinabalu (Tuesday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) this afternoon received a courtesy visit from His Excellency Pascal Gregoire, the Belgium Ambassador to Malaysia. His Excellency, who today began his official visit to Sabah, was received by SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari, and had a discussion on investment and economic initiatives through the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

  Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Johari (second from left) presenting H.E. Pascal Gregoire (second from right) with a memento

During the discussion, His Excellency remarked that there has been renewed interest in Malaysia by European countries since the recent change in administration, and as such he hopes to see more engagement with the European Union from Malaysians as well. At the moment, there are around 70 Belgium companies with activities in Malaysia. The ambassador also mentioned that there has been collaboration by Belgium with a university in Sabah in the fields of oceanography and maritime activities. As Belgium is a major global producer of chocolate products, His Excellency was also informed that Sabah is a major producer of cocoa for Malaysia.

The Belgium Ambassador to Malaysia said that he was interested to explore more of Sabah. His Excellency had said "it took me seven months before I managed to find the time to visit Sabah, but now I am already keen to visit Sabah again in my own free time".

SEDIA was established on January 15, 2009, through the adoption of Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority Enactment 2009. The Enactment was assented by the Tuan Yang Terutama Negeri Sabah on February 23, 2009, and gazetted on February 26, 2009. Through the enactment, SEDIA is vested with the necessary power to serve as a decision-making and execution institution that is tasked with realising the SDC vision and mission, by being the One-Stop Authority to plan, coordinate, promote and accelerate the development of SDC. SDC was launched on January 29, 2008 during the Ninth Malaysia Plan as one of Malaysia's five regional economic corridors, with the aim to accelerate the growth of Sabah's economy, promote regional balance and bridge the urban-rural divide, while ensuring sustainable management of state resources.

Over past years, SEDIA has been participating in exhibitions and expositions both locally and internationally, working closely with MITI as well as MIDA and other investment promotion agencies in investment promotion activities. These efforts include overseas trade and investment missions, welcoming courtesy visits by representatives and business delegations of foreign countries, attending meetings and promotion-related events at the national and international level, and to explore and attract the many forms of investments from around the globe. With the commencement of the Second Phase of SDC in 2011, SEDIA had been aggressively promoting investment into SDC.

SDC had entered into its Third Phase of implementation in 2016, and SEDIA has adopted a more focused and targeted approach in attracting quality investments in new growth areas, especially in service-based, innovation-led and knowledge-intensive industries including in Industry 4.0. During the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, SEDIA has been according greater emphasis on improving the state's economic competitiveness by enhancing the state's global connectivity to ensure seamless movement of people, goods and services. 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. In the long run, this is expected to reduce the cost of living and conducting business.

The introduction of SDC has no doubt created greater awareness on investment opportunities in Malaysia's second largest state. Unlike other development corridors in Malaysia, SDC - an 18-year economic development programme - covers the whole state of Sabah. The corridor initiative uses a holistic development approach to ensure economic development benefits everyone in the state. Subsequent to the launching of SDC, SEDIA has been promoting Sabah, under the SDC investment tagline, "A preferred destination for business, culture and nature". SDC initiatives implemented through SEDIA have clearly succeeded in drawing investments into Sabah. By December 2018, RM166.84 billion of cumulative committed investments was recorded in SDC, of which RM81 billion had been realised.

- Media SEDIA

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