Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has proposed for the renowned Japanese automotive company, Toyota Motor Corporation, to open its automotive component assembly plant in Sabah.
He said the move would strengthen Toyota’s market in Borneo considering that Indonesia’s capital will move to East Kalimantan while Sabah would benefit in terms of job opportunities for its citizens as well as the economic spillover.
Mohd Shafie made the proposal in his meeting with several automotive industry leaders after attending the Business Opportunities in Malaysia seminar in conjunction with his investment mission in Nagoya, Japan today.
“We are also users of automobiles produced by them, only that we have to look at what potentials that we can benefit from because there are cars that they produced and export that is needed in our country.
"Hence, to ensure the proposal (project) is sustainable, we are proposing a joint-venture with them whether through assembly or we become a manufacturer, for instance, four-wheel-drive cars are vehicles that are needed for the road conditions in Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan," he said in a media statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office here.
Mohd Shafie also held a closed door meeting with WADA Aircraft Technology Co. Ltd, a Japanese international company involved in the aerospace industry.
Earlier during the seminar, Mohd. Shafie delivered his keynote address and held a question-and-answer session for more than one hour, attended by 142 business people and investors from Japan.
Replying to a question from the floor, Mohd Shafie said the sectors selected by Sabah for cooperation with Japanese companies included furniture production as the state has sufficient timber resources.
He said Sabah nevertheless no longer exported logs, hence, the Japanese companies can set up factories in the state with a government guarantee that timber resources would be supplied all the time according to demand.
“I believe Japan imports rubber wood from Malaysia particularly Sabah...we have 72,843 hectares of land planted with rubber trees...you can produce furniture using this wood. Obviously, we are very close to your industry but I hope (you) can set up a plant in Sabah...we can work closely and we have available (ready) workers," he said.
Meanwhile, he also promised that the state government would provide all the facilities including expediting approvals within a 24-hour period to any Japanese companies that invest in Sabah as long as they comply with the conditions that have been set.
"We have policies and instruments, that is, give approvals for whatever investments that come into Sabah in 24 hours as long as you abide by the conditions such as environmental impact assessment and other requirements," said Mohd Shafie.