In a significant development for Sabah's hospitality and service industry, a state-of-the-art luxury resort, estimated at RM1 billion, is set to grace Melingsung, Papar. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor, representing the State Government, expressed gratitude to the Sinyi Group and its partner, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Resorts, for choosing Sabah as the location for this prestigious project.
Highlighting the strategic nature of the investment, Hajiji emphasized that the venture goes beyond mere room occupancy, aiming to have a lasting impact on Sabah's economy. Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, he lauded the decision, stating, "What is most important for Sabah is that such investments also produce a multiplier effect to boost the economy."
The luxury resort, boasting 450 rooms, is expected to generate over 500 employment opportunities while contributing significantly to the growth of the tourism sector. Hajiji underscored the importance of such investments extending their positive effects to local enterprises and communities. He acknowledged the favorable timing of choosing Melingsung, citing the upcoming Pengalat-Papar bypass construction and the Lok Kawi Road upgrade as factors contributing to the area's growth.
Addressing infrastructure concerns, particularly water supply, Hajiji mentioned the ongoing RM379 million Kogopon Water Treatment Plant upgrading project, aimed at enhancing water production capacity to 80 million liters daily for the Papar district. This initiative aligns with the broader goal of meeting the demands of potential businesses and industrial developments in the region.
Looking ahead, Hajiji also outlined plans for a multi-billion hydroelectric project at Ulu Padas in Tenom, expected to produce 180 MW of power by 2027. Additionally, the State Government is exploring the feasibility of a dam project to secure a water supply of 6,000 MLD for the next 80 to 100 years.
Highlighting Sabah's appeal as a tourist destination, Hajiji noted the post-Covid-19 resurgence in visitor arrivals, with 1.9 million recorded from January to September. With a target of 2.2 million arrivals for 2023, the addition of the InterContinental Resort aligns with the positive trajectory of Sabah's tourism industry.
Encouraging further investments, Hajiji invited investors to explore opportunities beyond tourism, including downstream food processing, renewable energy, and green technology-based products. Emphasizing Sabah's openness to proposals for new industries, he reiterated the commitment to ensuring the state's continued development and prosperity.