Kota Kinabalu: Kudat will become a hub for bilateral trade between the State via the district and Palawan, Philippines once a jetty and ramps for the ‘Roll On, Roll Out’ (RoRo) ferry services are operational, latest, by early next year.
Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang said the Federal Government has allocated RM8.84 million to construct facilities as preparation for the RoRo ferry services in Kudat.
“The State Government is grateful for such funding that will realise this important project to establish sea linkages between Kudat and Palawan to boost economic growth for Sabah and Philippines and the Bimp-Eaga region.
“A consultant has been appointed and I was made to understand that the design of the project is at the final stage and the physical construction work will begin in a month or two. “We are expecting the completion of the project would be by end of this year and the latest, it would be in operation early next year which we are looking forward to,” he said.
Teo disclosed this in his speech at the launching and signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the formation of Sabah Palawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SPCCI) here on Tuesday.
Teo together with the Governor of the Province of Palawan, Philippines, Jose CH Alverez witnessed the signing ceremony and formation of the SPCCI by companies from Sabah – a local-based company Total Megalink Sdn Bhd and Oil Right Holding Sdn Bhd while Palawan was represented by four companies –E-Power Technologies Corporation, Maynilad and Philphos Trading Inc.
Total Megalink Sdn Bhd was represented by its Chairman Datuk Amir Kahar Tun Mustapha, its Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Freddie Sua and Executive Director of Oil Right Holding Sdn Bhd Tay Teck Tuan while the Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corporation was represented by its managing partner Dennise C.Trajano, Chairman of E-Power Technologies Corporation Edwin L. Gardiola, Senior Vice-President of Maynilad Patrick C. Gregario ad Philphos Trading Inc, Vice Chairman Bienvenido S. Santos.
While welcoming and commending the effort of forming the SPCCI that specifically focuses on bilateral trade between two regions in different countries, Teo said this new initiative requires new players who are willing to explore and take that extra risk of finding a new horizon in terms of doing business.
“It is a historical day for the relationship between Sabah and Palawan that will provide mutual economic benefits and boost economic catalysts in both areas.
“In addition, our geographical proximity serves as an advantage which should be explored to its maximum.
“Through SPCCI, it is not only about business but an extension of mutual benefits in terms of tourism and cultural exposure that can lead them to better understand of each other’s backgrounds and advantages,” he said.
Teo also believed that SPCCI will assist the business communities in Sabah and Palawan and able to assist them in joint economic development and prosperity of both Sabah and Palawan.
Meanwhile, Jose said Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III has been very supportive of the upcoming sea linkages between Sabah via Kudat and Brooke’s Point in Southern Palawan that will boost mutual economic benefits.
He said he has visited Kudat since last year and saw the potentials that led to the initiative of creating sea and air connectivity. “We are looking up on the RoRo ferry services to be completed in Kudat that will create sea connectivity between Palawan and Sabah via Kudat.
“In fact, we have high-speed catamaran ferries in Palawan which can accommodate 35 cars, between 15 and 20 lorries and about 300 passengers.
“Therefore, we plan to have a trial run for the sea linkage between Kudat and Palawan tentatively in August this year,” he said at the event.
As for air connectivity, Jose said he is acquiring small aircraft to create such connectivity between Kudat and Palawan. He said he expects to be provided with single engine 10-seater aircraft before end of this year.
Furthermore, Jose said they also hope to boost tourist arrivals to Palawan which has attracted 2.6 million tourists a year.
Total Megalink Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Freddie Sua said the formation of SPCCI will be done by next month with its main address at Menara MAA, Api-Api Centre here.
On the type of business it will venture into in Palawan, he said the company is a Petronas fuel dealer that is looking into the aviation industry in Palawan that has 23 municipal airports. Sua said the SPCCI will become a meeting a point for the business community for both Sabah and Palawan.
He said the SPCCI will also provide necessary assistance to investment potentials and do market approach and research on business opportunities in both regions.
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