Suria Capital Holdings Bhd is keen to work with local and foreign partners to develop the RM1.5bil waterfront city development, said group managing director Abu Bakar @ Wahab Abas.
“It would be good to be the owner of the whole project. But we have to be practical and that is why we want to work with others,'' he said on the sidelines of the International CEO Conference yesterday.
“We have not approached any party as we have not received the necessary approvals. We would do that once we obtain the approvals,'' he said, adding that Suria expected to receive approvals from the authorities this year.
With a partnership, Suria’s funding obligation would be reduced. Abu Bakar did not say how the company would fund the development.
Suria Capital will transform the existing Kota Kinabalu Port into a waterfront city development, also known as the Jesselton Waterfront. It would be developed in three phases and would comprise three hotels, apartment blocks as well as retail, convention and marina facilities.
The whole project would be on a 50-acre site, where the current Kota Kinabalu Port is located, with the first phase covering 23 acres. The company is hoping to get additional land bank for the other phases from the State Government.
Suria Capital is 50% state-owned. It underwent a corporate restructuring, divesting its banking business and venturing into the port business.
Now it owns seven ports - Kudat, Tawau, Sandakan, Sepangar Bay oil terminal, Lahat Datu, Kota Kinabalu port and the upcoming Sepangar Bay - in Sabah under its unit, Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd.
Abu Bakar also squashed market talk that Suria Capital was planning to list Sabah Ports on Bursa Malaysia.
“It is our core business - how can we list that unit now? Of course, we are diversifying our business but it is a long process. Property development is a new area that we are going into but we are still interested to venture into the oil and gas sector,'' Abu Bakar said.
Suria Capital is also undertaking the development of the RM400mil Sepangar Bay port. The cost is inclusive of machinery and equipment at the new port, which would open its doors by the third quarter of this year.
The existing facilities at Kota Kinabalu Port would then be moved to Sepangar Bay and the land on which the Kota Kinabalu Port is located would be cleared for the development of the waterfront city.
On oil and gas, Abu Bakar said Suria Capital had not given up hope on trying to be part of the supply chain for the Asean supply base, which is linked to the Sabah Energy Corp.
“We are still exploring various proposals as to how we can be part of the supply chain,'' he added.