Sabah’s Own Free Trade Zone

Published on: Thursday, May 12, 2022

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Kota Kinabalu: The state government will receive a final proposal to develop Sabah’s first Free Zone (FZ) for the east coast to attract foreign investors, accelerate economic growth and strengthen the region’s influence. State. This was revealed during a dialogue between the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) and state-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd on Monday. MCBC Chairman Dato’ Sri Tiong King Sing (pictured) said a free zone is a special economic zone where goods can be imported, stored, handled, processed and repackaged, reconfigured and re-exported under special customs regulations and generally not subject to customs duties.

Penang and Johore are among the states with Free Trade Zones (FTZs). POIC Sabah is the developer of POIC Lahad Datu Industrial Park and Port (formerly known as Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) which is seen as a key driver in making Sabah’s east coast a new area of economic growth. Tiong, who is also the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, and a delegation from MCBC were back in Sabah when they met with POIC Sabah’s management team led by its Chairman Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and his Managing Director (CEO) Datuk Fredian Gan. The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industrial Development and the director of Matrade and Mida Sabah were also present. Tiong last met with POIC Sabah officials in March 2021 where he, among other things, proposed that POIC also seriously consider the establishment of a Free Industrial Zone in Lahad Datu Industrial Park to stimulate investment and promised MCBC’s assistance in promoting and facilitating with Chinese investors. Briefing MCBC on Industrial Development what has happened since, POIC Sabah CEO Datuk Fredian Gan said that POIC Sabah is submitting a final proposal to the State Cabinet for the State to apply for an FZ license to federal authorities.

He said he was considering developing more than 1,000 acres of coastal land not far from POIC’s port facilities for the pioneering project. “The FZ is in line with POIC Sabah’s plan to develop Sabah’s east coast into a BIMP-EAGA logistics hub by leveraging POIC Lahad’s strategic position in the BIMP-EAGA region, modern port facilities, access to abundant natural resources of neighboring countries and location along the Lombok-Makassar sea route.” POIC Sabah appreciated Tiong’s prompting and sharing his experience in implementing the other free zone projects of Klang as well as what he learned from dealing with the key person behind Dubai’s massive free zone project,” Fredian said. His appreciation extended to the assurance given to help raise the issue by getting approval from the Federal Government for the establishment of FZ in POIC Lahad Datu Fredian also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to Tiong for establishing a collaboration between POIC Sabah and China Construction Bank (CC B) which resulted in the signing of a strategic collaboration agreement on April 8 of this year.


Tiong hailed the idea of ​​building an international airport, maritime academy and transport hub in Lahad Datu, stressing that connectivity was key to promoting trade and connecting to markets.
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