KOTA KINABALU: China remains as Sabah’s significant trade partner with its trade volume registering an increase of 1.2% to RM6.56bil for the first half of this year, says Chief Minister Hajiji Noor.
He said that as the economic and trade cooperation between Malaysia and China continued to progress, the state government is looking forward to more trade and investments from the Republic coming into Sabah.
In his speech at China’s 74th National Day Celebration held by the Consulate General of China in Kota Kinabalu on Thursday (Sept 21) night, Hajiji said China is now Malaysia’s largest trading partner while Malaysia ranked near the top of China’s trading partners in South-East Asia.
“Therefore, there is much to be done to strengthen and align Sabah’s development strategies with China, combining the realisation of Chinese modernisation with Malaysia Madani and Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) aspirations,” he said.
His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam who represented him.
Moving forward, Hajiji said Sabah looked forward to more cooperation with China in areas such as green energy, manufacturing, high technology agriculture and smart city construction to promote mutual benefit and private-public partnerships.
On the state tourism front, Hajiji said arrivals from China were also growing steadily since the full reopening of China’s border in March earlier this year.
“For the first six months of this year, Chinese visitors numbered 17,040 (an increase of 680.6%) compared to only 2,188 arrivals in the corresponding period last year.
“Sabah is connected to seven major cities in China with 54 weekly flights and seat capacity of 9,861.
“We hope to see more air connectivity to increase visitor arrivals from China to Sabah. We are pleased that Sabah has remained a sought-after destination for Chinese visitors, either for leisure or business,” he added.