Sabah’s first Free Trade Zone in POIC Lahad Datu approved
20 Mar 2023
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has principally approved the application of Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) to be declared as a Free Trade Zone (FTZ).
This was announced during the roundtable meeting co-chaired by Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Liew Chin Tong and Sabah Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship, Phoong Jin Zhe in the national capital on Monday.
In a statement, Phoong thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for approving the application and also Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor for entrusting this important task to him.
“I believe that following this announcement, we will bring positive impact to Sabah’s industrial development, especially in the East Coast of Sabah,” he said.
Phoong added more information on the free trade zone will be released later on. Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Sabah (SME Sabah) last year called for Sabah to set up two Free Trade Zones, one in Sepangar Bay here and the another at the Lahad Datu POIC.
SME Sabah president Foo Ngee Kee said having FTZ would allow Sabah to import agricultural produce from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region to combine with the state’s produce to make up the minimum export volume.
“With FTZ, local SMEs can process these imported products within their warehouse in the FTZ for re-export,” he said.
The Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) had also said the federal government should allocate funds to accelerate the establishment of a free-trade zone in Lahad Datu POIC to boost economic growth in Sabah’s east coast region.
Its president, Datuk Chua Soon Ping, said the state government and POIC should capitalise on the opportunity following the relocation of Indonesia’s future capital city, Nusantara, to Borneo.
He said the move was timely and strategic to encourage trade in the region.
Source: The Borneo Post