Sabah to secure more investments from South Korea - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Sabah to secure more investments from South Korea

Sabah to secure more investments from South Korea

20 Jul 2023

The Ministry of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship (MIDE) is looking into securing further investments from South Korean conglomerate SK Group, said its minister, Phoong Jin Zhe.

“Although I cannot disclose further details due to business considerations, what I can say is that we are trying to get them to invest more in Sabah, especially in the renewable energy and Electric Vehicle (EV) sector, in an effort to establish an EV hub here.

“It is my hope that we will be able to not only produce copper foils here but also whole batteries and, eventually, the EV cars themselves.

“I know this is a big dream and I do not want to be seen as blowing my own trumpet, so we have to take our time to convince them that Sabah is worth putting more investments into,” he said when launching the Platinum Business Awards 2023 Sabah Roadshow at a hotel here on Thursday.

Phoong, who is also Luyang assemblyman, said securing more investments from SK Group will be huge for Sabah, considering that it is the second largest conglomerate in South Korea with around 186 subsidiaries worldwide.

In comparison, Sabah has some 200 government-linked agencies (GLC) scattered throughout its districts.

“Samsung, the largest conglomerate in South Korea, has unveiled its 10-year plan, and it does not include Sabah. Hence, we need to focus on the next best thing.

“We have to actively put Sabah on the map and in their (SK Group’s) minds, in the hopes that they will expand their investments in the state,” he said.

Phoong added that at the same time, he is also eagerly talking to Japanese companies and looking into securing potential investments from Japan.

“Looking at the current geopolitical development such as the rivalry between the United States and China, Sabah can serve as an attractive investment option for those wishing to diversify their businesses at a safer location,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Platinum Business Awards 2023 Sabah Roadshow was organised by SME Malaysia to benchmark the business performance and quality standards of SMEs and individuals in 19 award categories by nomination and four categories by invitation.

SME Malaysia president Ding Hong Sing during the programme had called for government loans totaling RM40 billion with interest rates below two percent to assist SME groups with tight cash flow to advance their operations.

Ding explained that the transformation of SMEs in tandem with Industrial Revolution 4.0 required the urgent adoption of automation and digitalisation which represented huge capital outlays for many businesses.

“Existing SME grants are insufficient to cover the large number of businesses in the country so we suggest the grant size for automation, digitalisation and smart farming be increased to RM2 billion,” he said.

Additionally, he called for one-to-one matching grants totaling RM2 billion specific to ESG projects for SMEs, adding that such an incentive from the government would accelerate spending by SMEs themselves in ESG, especially among manufacturing exporters.

Organising chairwoman Datuk Ada Poon explained that the award platform could showcase successful companies and uncover the next generation of business leaders.

“Honoring organisations and individuals will motivate them to improve their businesses and in turn, boost the industry and contribute towards the nation’s progress,” she said.

Ada added that a foreign category, the Asia Pacific Outstanding Enterprise Award, allows nominations from China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Taiwan and South Korea to foster economic relations between Malaysian SMEs and their foreign counterparts.

In encouraging Sabah entrepreneurs to participate in the programme, SME Sabah president Prof Datuk Foo Ngee Kee explained the benefits of enhancing branding and marketing prospects through the industry-recognised award.

“Many Sabah SMEs have great products but they lack market access and recognition, thus placing them at a disadvantage.

“Being a PBA winner would enhance our SMEs’ position when engaging with their bankers, suppliers and customers,” Foo said.

Source: Borneo Post