KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is open to fostering a bilateral trade partnership with Kazakhstan by capitalising on the country’s good relations with Malaysia.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said there was much Malaysia and Kazakhstan could leverage further on each other's strengths.
Both countries have had three decades of good relations following the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, he said, adding that the establishment of Kazakhstan’s capital Astana and Putrajaya as sister cities in 1996 further cemented bilateral ties.
“For Sabah, my government is guided by our development roadmap, the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya and our commitment to growth is unwavering,” he said at the “Explore Kazakhstan - Business Opportunities for Sabah” presentation here on Friday (Sept 22).
“Our development agenda is based on the three growth pillars of agriculture, industry and tourism and placing emphasis on investing in our people, enhancing connectivity and green sustainability.
“I hope today's 'Explore Kazakhstan' event will give a glimpse to guests and participants of what your country has to offer and will pave the way for both sides to explore bilateral trade partnership,” he added.
The Chief Minister’s speech was delivered by state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.
Also present were Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Malaysia Bulat Sugurbayev and First Secretary, Embassy of Kazakhstan in Malaysia Arsen Turgambayev, among others.
This is Kazakhstan's first country business presentation in Sabah.
Hajiji said Sabah was open to business, saying the state was strategically located in Southeast Asia being a part of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (Bimp-Eaga).
“In other words, we are in the middle of where the action is.
“Sabah's trade hit a record high of RM118.1bil in 2022 compared to RM87.2bil in the previous year.
“We would certainly like to see more investors coming to Sabah to establish win-win business deals,” he said.
Hajiji added that he was pleased that Kazakhstan accepted Sabah’s invitation to be among the over 20 countries participating at the ongoing Sabah International Expo 2023 (SIE2023).
“I hope you have found the Expo and the Business Luncheon Talk to be useful and informative for onward sharing to Kazakhstan investors keen to explore business potentials here in Sabah,” he said.
Kazakhstan’s new economic agenda places significant emphasis on investments in infrastructure and logistics along the International North-South Transport Corridor, which connects India and Europe, and the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor, which connects China and Europe via the Caspian Sea.
Strategically located at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Kazakhstan has long been a crucial nexus for transportation and trade.
Over 80% of goods bound for Europe from China and Central Asia, measured by volume, pass through Kazakhstan.