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clock 29-10-2019
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Philippines Plan to Shift Its Capital Excites Sabah

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A report about Philippines moving its capital from Manila to Mindanao (Southern Philippines) excites the State Government, considering this will make Sabah located in the middle between the capitals of three countries, including Brunei and Indonesia.   

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the close proximity of Sabah to East Kalimantan and Mindanao, if it becomes a reality, can translate into a significant economic triangle, with Brunei Darussalam on the edge.

“As you already know, our neighbour Indonesia plans to move its national capital to East Kalimantan. And I read recently that even the Philippines is talking about moving its capital from Manila to Mindanao. If these become a reality, these new national capitals will be located within the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga) region.

“And Sabah sits pretty in the middle of Bimp-Eaga. Our proximity to East Kalimantan and Mindanao can translate into a significant economic triangle, with Brunei Darussalam on the edge. Bimp-Eaga has been described as one of the most resource-rich regions in the world,” he said when opening the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) Property Exhibition (PropEX) 2019 at the Sabah Trade Centre, here, Saturday. His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister cum Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.  

Earlier, Shafie said the State Government appreciates Shareda for unceasingly making well-thought and constructive suggestions for the betterment of Sabah. 

“Your participation in various affordable housing schemes, including in the Home Ownership Campaign, is noble indeed.

The Government, led by Parti Warisan Sabah, has also taken note of your suggestions and your concerns,” he said.

He said the State Government has also taken note of Shareda’s proposal for a Sabah My Second Home concept versus a nationwide Malaysia My 2nd Home programme. 

“I am happy to tell you that there is a growing awareness about little differences in the implementation of national policies in different regions in the country. As Shareda President said, the prices of properties that foreigners are allowed to buy are critical in whether foreign ownership can benefit Sabah properties,” he said.

Shafie, who is also the State Finance Minister, said the recently announced Budget 2020 allows foreigners to buy properties worth RM600,000 to qualify for Malaysia My Second Home, and as a suggestion by Shareda President, both the State Government and Shareda can work out something for the industry and at the same time protect local house buyers.

“We are concerned on the impact of foreign property ownership on the locals. We want to be able to ensure that there will not be an influx of foreign buyers so much so that local consumers are priced out of the market. We will also look into the mechanism of rent-to-own (RTO) financing recommended in Budget 2020. This is to ensure that Sabah developers are empowered to implement RTO, ultimately leading to higher home-ownership among the younger generation,” he said. 

He said the State Government has decided to pursue the industrialised state status by 2030. 

“The expansion of the manufacturing sector is key to the success of this goal. We are pleased to hear your proposal for the setting up of a task force on building materials that could lead to implementable ideas for widening our manufacturing base, especially in relation to building materials.

“I particularly like the idea that you have rallied the builders, architects, manufacturers and other stakeholders to determine how we can expand manufacturing. Through various state agencies and government-linked companies, we are already involved in the manufacturing of building materials.

“The challenge is on expanding their market share, and exploring how they can go further downstream,” said Shafie. 

He also commented on the PropEX 2019 theme of “Tech Me Home” which, he said, is relevant and important because in the rapidly changing environment, all need to stay ahead of the curve. 

“We are currently talking about the 4th Industrial Revolution. We also read about so-called 5G technologies. But before we could fully grasp what 5G is, the China tech giant, Huawei, was saying that they have 6G in the works. This illustrates the need for us to change and adopt, failing which we become obsolete,” he said.

The Chief Minister also thanked Shareda for its support for the soon-to-be-ready Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) by planning an international property exhibition there next year. 

“As more tourists arrive, it would be a disservice if we do not look into expanding MICE, known in full as meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition, aspect of the industry. 

“With the commissioning of SICC, better international air connectivity, sufficient quality hotels and tourist attractions, Sabah possesses all that is required to for MICE to grow as a tourism product,” he said. 

Shareda President Datuk Chew Sang Hai and PropEX 2019 Organising Chairman Seth Quek Teck Seng were also present.

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