LAHAD DATU: The ginormous China and Korean markets and the much touted depth of potentials of Sabah appear to align with the visit of two groups of people here over the last three days.
Top officials of Dongnam A. Circulater Co. Ltd., South Korea and China Construction Bank (CCB) are drawn here by state-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, specifically because of its port infrastructure and it’s positioning as the consolidating, processing, manufacturing and logistics hub of the east region and gateway to BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonedia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area).
POIC Sabah, which is developing the POIC Lahad Datu industrial park and operating an integrated port infrastructure in the East Coast of Sabah in the town of Lahad Datu, signed collaborative agreements with Dongnam on 30th July 2021 and CCB on 8th April 2022.
“The fact that they are here visiting our facilities at the first opportunity (post COVID) is a clear indication of their seriousness to move forward,” said POIC Sabah CEO Datuk Fredian Gan.
CCB delegation was headed by Ms Wang Jiayang, its Senior Vice President of Strategic Development.
Dongnam’s delegation, led by its President Su Man Hwang, included chief executives of manufacturing, engineering and logistics providers.These company are established partners with Dongnam in a wide network of ports.
By Dongnam setting up a base in Lahad Datu, these companies’ operations could potentially encourage the flow of cargo in and out of Lahad Datu, as well as drawing in investors to set up manufacturing factories taking advantage of POIC Lahad Datu as an amalgamation point for raw materials such as palm oil, sea weed, petroleum and minerals.
“Their visit is to take a first-hand look and feel of Lahad Datu town and POIC.”
The visitors àlso met with the Lahad Datu District Officer, Mohammad Ayub Bin Yakub and officials of the Lahad Datu District Council and briefed on the workings of local authorities on project planning and approval.
Dongnam is a Busan-based shipping and logistics operator whose entry to POIC Lahad Datu aims to unlock the potentials of the vast natural resources in BIMP EAGA using Lahad Datu as the base matching it with technologies from Korea.
The aim syncs seamlessly with POIC aim to move POIC Lahad Datu forward as the regional logistics hub and gateway of BIMP EAGA.
“The play in simple terms is for Dongnam to use its logistics connections to, like how roads and connectivity open up land and prospects, bring BIMP EAGA resources to be consolidated at Lahad Datu to build cargo volume and attract manufacturing and so on.”
Dongnam’s global shipping routes are a ready network of ports whose linkage helps POIC Port find its place in the global ports and harbours community.
‘The connectivity element is extremely crucial for Lahad Datu and Sabah to elevate our part in the global supply chain,’ said Gan.
“That is why a proposal is in place to build an international airport as part of the maritime transportation hub at Lahad Datu as a step to complete the air, sea and land connectivity towards opening up the gateway to the world.”
On China Construction Bank, Gan said connecting with a banking giant owned by the government of China will help POIC Sabah’s continuing effort to win Chinese investors.
“The recent statement by China Foreign Minister Wang Yi that China is keen on opportunities in Sabah’s palm oil sector shows that we are being noticed and that our efforts on China has results.
“There are already hundreds of China companies investing in Peninsular Malaysia. We hope working with CCB will entice these investors and more in China to look our way.”
Gan added that POIC Sabah, as a Sabah government-owned company, looks to work with all state-owned agencies and the private sector to explore business opportunities with two of the biggest industrialised economies.
“Through CCB and Dongnam, the door is wide open for Sabah to access the many and major foreign direct investments … something Sabah is searching for as far as the Sabah Maju Jaya development plan.”
“They are suitably impressed with our intentions with the BIMP-EAGA region and we hope to firm up some agreements soon.”