Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah and Sarawak governments have decided to learn and share each other's experience on tourism and investment development for mutual benefit.
Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman and his counterpart, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, agreed that instead of doing things on their own like previously, both governments should complement each other, particularly in attracting investors to come to East Malaysia.
Taib said both Sabah and Sarawak needed more infrastructure in order to close the gap between East Malaysia and the peninsula, as well as to attract more investors and visitors.
"We have big mass of land and our populations are not that big. That's why our market is not that attractive to investors unlike in the peninsula. That's why we need more infrastructure," he said.
Taib believed besides having more infrastructure, implementation must also be efficient, in order to catch up and balance with the development level in the peninsular, especially under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP).
Following such consultations, both states would be forwarding their problems on development to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) or relevant authorities on development in the country.
"We will then be able to avoid delays. We can recover the time wasted and if possible get the value of every sen allocated for development," said Taib.
"I believe Sabah and Sarawak need more attention," he said, adding it included channelling development funds to the two states earlier and quickly.
He said Sarawak is offering to Sabah its knowledge and experience on the efficient implementation of development projects.
"In Sarawak, we have completed our monitoring system so that implementation progress of our development projects are more efficient. We want to share this experience with Sabah, if they wantÉbecause we are going to face greater challenges."
Musa and Abdul Taib were speaking to reporters after a closed-door briefing in conjunction with latter's working visit to Sabah at the Pacific Sutera Harbour Resort
, here, Thursday.
Among those accompanying Abdul Taib was his Deputy, Tan Sri Alfred Jabu and Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Abdul Aziz Hussin
Apart from Musa who is also State Finance Minister, attending the meeting for the Sabah State Government was Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Infrastructure Development Minister, Datuk Raymond Tan and State Secretary Datuk K.Y Mustafa.
"We want to discuss common issues such as infrastructure development so that we can find appropriate approaches for the benefit of both states," said Taib.
Taib and Musa said both States would enhance cooperation and networking in tourism to attract more tourists to Sabah or Sarawak.
"We also want to cooperate in tourism, we want to attract more Australians to come here. People prefer to go to two destinations rather than only one due to cost of flying," he said. As both states in Borneo were unique with their own cultures, it would be a new attraction for the tourists, he said.
Musa asserted that in terms of manufacturing and tourism, a marketing networking was also discussed.
"That's what we are looking into," said Musa when asked whether Sabah and Sarawak would be holding joint-promotion in tourism, among others.
Taib added although not all the industries could be jointly promoted, uniformity of industries between Sabah and Sarawak was increasing, particularly with the tremendous progress in Sabah over the past few years.
The independent industries in both states are an advantage to attract investors," he said. Sabah, one of Malaysia's major palm oil producing states, could also share its experience in the development of the oil palm industry with Sarawak, he said.
"I don't mind they choose Sabah over Sarawak or vice versa its up to the investors but the main thing is for them to see the potential of these two evolving into one market and one co-operative arrangement where we can share expertise later," he said.
Earlier, Musa said the visit by Taib and entourage, initiated by Taib himself, was an honour for Sabah since Sarawak had been successful in placing itself as among the most developed states in the country.
"Of course, Sabah would really like to learn and share experience in the context of state development and progress in all sector. I am confident that we can get mutual benefit if we are able to ensure parallel development between the two states," he said.
At the same time, Musa said the visit also further consolidated the existing good ties between Sabah and Sarawak as well as among its people.
Musa briefed Taib on the Sabah Government's halatuju that he introduced to focus on the manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors as the main economic catalysts for Sabah, among others.
He also explained to Taib about the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) programmes in Sabah that caters the crude palm oil (CPO) processing, which Sarawak could also look into.Source: Daily Express