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Proposed Sabah Free Trade Zone poses no economic threat to Labuan -- minister

14/05/2022 05:14 AM

LABUAN, May 13 (Bernama) -- The proposed development of Sabah’s first “Free Zone” (FZ) on the state’s east coast poses no economic threat to Labuan.

Sabah Industrial Development Minister Datuk Joachim Gunsalam said the Sabah government is still studying the implications of the project, economically and socially, particularly for the industrial sector.

“If it is good for the state, we will go ahead, but if the implication is too complicated, we might as well not pursue it,” he told reporters after visiting the small and medium industry mart of Pasarina Mini Mart in Patau-Patau here today.

Joachim, who is also Sabah Deputy Chief Minister III, said the concept of the proposed development of Sabah’s first FZ involved a logistics industry in a designated area that consists of packaging, unpackaging, repackaging, and rebranding of selected products that are not subject to taxation, except outside of the free trade zone (FTZ).

“I don’t think the proposed Sabah FTZ (if implemented) will compete with a similar sector in Labuan,” he said.

The state government will be presented with a final proposal to develop Sabah’s first FZ for the East Coast to attract foreign investors, expedite economic growth, and strengthen the state’s regional influence.

This was revealed at a dialogue between the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) and state-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd on Monday.

MCBC chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said an FZ is a special economic zone where goods may be imported, stored, handled, processed, repacked, reconfigured, and re-exported under special customs regulations and generally not subject to customs duty. 

Penang and Johor are among the states with free trade zones.

POIC Sabah is the developer of the POIC Lahad Datu industrial park and port (used to be known as Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) which is being seen as a key economic driver for Sabah’s east coast.


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