KOTA KINABALU: The State Government is impressed with the progress at state-owned POIC Lahad Datu (used to be known as Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) and its vision of making Sabah’s east coast a new economic growth centre.
The sentiments were expressed by Chief Minister YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Haji Noor at a special briefing by POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd here on April 30.
POIC Sabah is the developer of the POIC Lahad Datu industrial park since 2005. It has to date attracted more than RM3.5 billion in investments, both by foreign and domestic in companies.
POIC Sabah Chief Executive Officer Datuk Fredian Gan briefed the Chief Minister on wide-ranging plans including turning Lahad Datu into a logistics, processing, transhipment and manufacturing hub of the BIMP-EAGA region.
This move will further open up POIC Lahad Datu to the global market and potentially attracting major investors to take advantage of Sabah’s strategic location within BIMP-EAGA, access to abundant natural resources in the region such as palm oil, petroleum and its proximity to the new Indonesian national capital at Nusantara, East Kalimantan.
Leveraging on the comprehensive port infrastructure at POIC Lahad Datu and its location along the Lombok-Makassar shipping route, the company also seeks to promote POIC Lahad Datu’s maritime potentials. He added the move could potentially add logistics as a major revenue stream in the Sabah economy.
Datuk Gan also shared with the Chief Minister and his officials some key impediments the full development and investment potentials of POIC LD, namely inconsistent supply of electricity, weak internet connection and insufficient water supply, that needs the urgent attentions.
POIC Sabah’s board of directors led by its Chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee and senior managers were present at the briefing held at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).
They later joined the Chief Minister in the breaking of the fast. Also present were the Sabah Special Envoy to BIMP-EAGA Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Haji Mulia and officials of the BIMP-EAGA Business Council, Sabah Chapter.
Datuk Gan highlighted the need for POIC Lahad Datu to ramp up development to keep pace with and seize growth opportunities in the BIMP-EAGA territories in order to prompt Sabah’s east coast as a new economic growth area within the context of the Sabah Maju Jaya development blue print.
At the same time, POIC appreciates the attention and assertion by the Chief Minister that the govt is doing its best to resolve issues that include the setting up an IPP to supplement the power supply in the east coast, in a very near future. As for the water supply, the issue may be resolved by 2023 when the new Water Treatment Project in Segama is completed by then.
Datuk Seri Hajiji was also told of plans to develop international connectivity between Sabah east coast and other cities in the world.
Relevant parties are working on plans to build a new international airport at Lahad Datu, a transportation hub centred at POIC Lahad Datu, a maritime academy and an international marine hub.
POIC Lahad Datu is a state initiative aimed at deepening and value-add to the oil palm industry which has been depending on export of crude palm oil. Although Sabah has up to 1.55 million hectares up oil palm oil plantation as at 2021, the state has very little downstream industries except for about 124 oil palm mills.
The state objective is to encourage downstream utilisation of oil palm biomass, bio chemicals and to develop oleochemical industries.