KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan says for any country in this world to succeed, they should consider going green and dive into the circular economy.
According to the Deputy Chief Minister, Sabah will be able to claim its constitutional rights and independence if the state is strong financially and politically.
He said despite being an oil and timber rich state, Sabah was among the poorest states in the country.
To change this, he said, Sabah must move away from the conventional exploitative extractive economy into the digital circular economy.
“Given Sabah’s vast agriculture forest and nature capital endowments as well as its strategic geographical advantage and potential, we are poised to do just that,” Kitingan said.
He said the whole world is concerned about the negative effects of climate change, not only on the global economy and health, but on the survival of humanity due to carbon emissions and environmental degradation.
“With what we already have, we are in the perfect position to partake in this new economy and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the world.
“But going green is not just about the environment, nature and conservation.
“It is also about healthy living and the emerging circular digital economy – smart carbon, green technology, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, big data, organic and sustainable farming and cryptocurrency as well as blockchain technology and the dawn of metaverse,” he said.
Kitingan said Sabah must capitalise on these competitive advantages and to do that, it needs stronger and more innovative leadership and good governance, good and efficient infrastructure, including ports and harbours, as well as efficient Internet connectivity.
He said a global trading platform, economic and professional manpower resources and connectivity with right educational and training policies and platforms to empower the people, particularly youths and women, as well as access to global financial capital and investors were needed too.
Apart from that, the state needs good multi-level strategic plans and nature conservation, he added.
“We are going to put together a good team of professionals and good economic development strategies for Sabah.
“If we succeeded in doing this, we would be able to double Sabah’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita from US$6,000 to US$12,000 within the next two years,” he said.
Towards this end, Kitingan said Sabah must raise its economy to a global platform to take advantage of global opportunities and raise its financial capacity.
The Deputy Chief Minister has been pushing for a controversial Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) which would see some 600,000ha of Sabah's totally protected areas used to market carbon and other natural capital with a Singapore-based private company.
The NCA is set to be in force for the next 100 years if approved.