The State Capital's upcoming new landmark - the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) - is to be certified as a "green building" upon completion next year, in line with the current global trend and following adjustments to certain aspects of its design.
This was disclosed by Noor Ahmad Hamid, the Asia Pacific Region Director for the International Congress and Conference Association (ICCA) after a SICC site inspection, Monday.
He was the first speaker at a briefing for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) industry players, Tuesday, organised by the Yayasan Sabah Group and the Sabah Tourism Board at Le Meridien Hotel.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman had earlier directed that the previous roofing design of "Lepa-Lepa" boat motifs of the Bajau community be modified to incorporate solar panel roofing for green energy usage.
This was disclosed by Yayasan Sabah Deputy Director cum Deputy CEO of Innoprise Corporation S/B Datuk Hajah Rosmawati Haji Lasuki, who said that the design of the surrounding developments would also be reviewed for the convenience of the public.
"There will be a whole one world experience from the Pullman Hotel to be built there and others for visitors, and those alighting from cruise ships at the cruise terminal into an indoor theme park-like atmosphere at developments next to the SICC.
"This will spare them the discomfort of hot sunlight and stifling humidity to wet downpour if they were visiting an outdoor theme park there."
She said the Chief Minister chose the site for SICC in the Central Business District to benefit businesses in the city and Yayasan Sabah is now looking at the most cost-effective supply chain of food like poultry products, etc, among others, to SICC from the city's hinterland and other local suppliers.
"This is so that more people will benefit and have a sense of being stakeholders in this advanced development of Sabah's MICE business."
Guest-of-Honour Sabah Tourism Board Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai hopes to promote rural tourism trend as seen in other countries in Indochina through events at SICC, which also would balance out somewhat the much concerned lop-sided dependence on China and other East Asian tourist arrivals, as promotions for other countries' tourists are on-going like efforts undertaken in Europe.
"I am very passionate about rural tourism," he said. Hajah Rosmawati said while Sabah is renowned for tourism attractions, SICC adds value to Sabah's tourism industry by bringing lucrative MICE crowd and income to boost the State's economy and investment potential.
She reassured that other than MICE activities, from her experience overseas, cultural events and performances like wrestling, a popular sport event, would draw in the crowds, to SICC.
Earlier, retired Sabah professional female Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Ann Osman asked whether SICC could host sporting events.
"We can bring in Celine Dion (a famous singer), for example, if she performs in Australia, just six hours flight time to here," she suggested, as the SICC has a 1,200 capacity two-tier Performing Arts Hall at Level 2.
Hajjah Rosmawati explained that although the SICC is expected to be completed around August next year, she did not want to commit to the Sabah Federation of Industries (SFI) that they can be the first to use the venue for their scheduled Sabah International Exposition (SIE) 2018, as there might be matters to be resolved after completion, to avert any shortcomings, as expectations are high.
The SICC has three convention halls of 1,800 sq m each, nine meeting rooms, three exhibition halls of 1,800 sq m each with a storage hall of 2,040 sq m, three VIP lounges, a performing arts hall and an outdoor exhibition area of 7,000 sq m. The SICC can accommodate 323 booths of size 3mx3m while its Banquet hall can seat 3,900 pax.
SFI President Datuk Mohd Basri Abd Gafar, who was present, said that the SIE 2018 is postponed to 2019, tentatively in the first quarter of 2019, pending the green light from Yayasan Sabah Group that developed the SICC project in order to fix the new dates for SIE 2019.
He wanted it to be the best ever for Sabah after signing a MOU in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, at the recent BIMP-EAGA officials meeting with the Indonesian trade association there. He said the SIE needs a year to promote the event which is the largest trade fair in the state, to draw in foreign participants.
Malaysia aims to earn RM3.9 billion in incremental GNI from MICE events creating more than 16,000 jobs by 2020 when the country attains developed nation status with high income earnings.
SICC will help to contribute to that achievement.