Sabah's growing industrial sector development provides huge opportunities for neighbouring Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
According to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, natural resources industry, among other various industries, provides one of the highest levels of potential.
"Sabah is the largest producer of palm oil in Malaysia with production reaching 18 million tonnes per year" said Tan, adding that Sabah also has a wide variety of other resources such as natural gas, timber, cocoa and rubber.
"Furthermore, the tourism sector in Sabah can give huge returns because of the state's picturesque nature offerings such as Mount Kinabalu and its beautiful islands. The number of tourists visiting Sabah has reached 3.4 billion a year and 70% of the number is from China" he said during an Association of JCI Senators of South East Asian Nations dialogue session with the minister here on Saturday.
Commenting on the global economic trend, Raymond, who is also Industrial Development Minister, urged ASEAN delegates not to be daunted by the constraint of economic inclusion by other countries because the ASEAN population now stands at 600 million.
Also at the dialogue, he explained the biomass industry is a technology that converts oil palms into fuel, sofas and other products and is one of the industries that attract investors.
He also encouraged investors and representatives of neighbouring countries not to ignore the small and medium (SME) industry as it is the backbone of the national economy.