Hajiji: BIMP-EAGA potential augurs well with Sabah Maju Jaya development roadmap
By Paul Mu - August 23, 2021 @ 4:16pm
KOTA KINABALU: It is high time to push the developments of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) to boost the economy of member countries.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said BIMP-EAGA has come a long way since its inception in 1994 and it is still a highly relevant platform to promote collaboration and cooperation.
For Malaysia, particularly Sabah, he said there is much potential in transboundary cooperation in earmarked sectors such as transportation; energy and power interconnection; trade and investment; information and communication technology; agro-industry and fisheries; tourism; environment as well as socio-cultural and education.
"This fits well with the strategic direction of my government's five-year Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) development plan from 2021 to 2025, which I launched early this year," said Hajiji in his welcoming remarks at the inaugural "BIMP-EAGA Energy Online Conference and Exhibition (BECE)" today.
His speech was delivered by Sabah Special Envoy to BIMP-EAGA, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
According to Hajiji, the SMJ implementation was in line with the main framework of national development through the 2030 Shared Prosperity Vision.
SMJ's three main thrusts of economic growth focused on agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors, besides human capital and people's well-being, green infrastructure and sustainability network, he said.
He was confident that BIMP-EAGA, which is Asia's largest regional grouping aimed at accelerating economic development, improving export competitiveness and enhancing the attractiveness of the East Asia Growth Area to local and foreign investments has even greater prospects in the coming years.
"Malaysia is committed to continue supporting and enhancing cooperation in the BIMP-EAGA," he said.
Hajiji said the theme "BIMP-EAGA Energy Sector–Opportunities and Challenges" was apt as it aimed to update industry players on the challenges facing the oil and gas industry as well as the power and energy infrastructure industry.
"I believe you will take time to discuss many relevant topics including opportunities and solutions, application experiences, seeking global partners for future collaboration, and infrastructure financing, among others," he said.
He noted that the BIMP-EAGA development path to 2025 was guided by the long-term strategic thrusts of enhancing connectivity within and outside BIMP-EAGA.
It is also to establish the subregion as a food basket in Asean and the rest of Asia; promoting BIMP-EAGA as the premier tourism destination; ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, and promoting people to people connectivity through social-cultural and education.
He said Sabah had marked a milestone recently that would help materialise the Borneo grid and wider Asean power grid, which are BIMP-EAGA's priority infrastructure projects under the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 (BEV 2025) as well as the aspiration of BIMP-EAGA to increase energy access in particular to the rural areas.
On Aug 6 this year, Sabah's utility company Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) signed the power exchange and interconnection agreement with Sarawak energy's SESCO to allow power energy link-up between the two neighbouring states.
"The BIMP-EAGA power and energy infrastructure (PEI ) sector strategy is centred on promoting optimum use of subregional energy resources to increase energy access, especially in the rural areas. It is also focused on optimising the use of domestic energy resources and improve regional energy security."
On another issue, Hajiji who is state Finance Minister said he was pleased to note that many businesses remained resilient and have taken actions to seize opportunities despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.
"Over the past year, enterprise leaders around the world have had to respond to disruptions, unpredictability, and unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Indeed, the pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives including how we conduct business. This has prompted many to seek new ways of doing things.
"We saw organisations adopting new business strategies or changed business models. This is the new norm and way forward for many who seek to stay in business," he said.
Among those attending the online conference and exhibition were Indonesia Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif; Mindanao Development Authority of Philippines secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol and BECE project manager-cum-Midas Events Management organising chairperson Dolly Jimayol.