Sabah eyes sea link with the Philippines' Palawan

Hajiji (middle) sharing a light moment with State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong (right) after the post Cabinet meeting.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is considering establishing a sea link between its Kudat district and Palawan in the Philippines, says Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The Chief Minister said the state government had proposed this move to revitalise the economy in Sabah’s northern district.

He said the matter was discussed with federal Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who later toured Kudat with Kudat MP Datuk Verdon Bahanda.

"By establishing ferry services, barter trading at Kudat could be revived," he said at the Chief Minister's Department post-cabinet meeting at Menara Kinabalu on Wednesday (May 29).

Hajiji said the barter trade would help to revive Kudat's sluggish economy, adding that the opening of Kudat Port could serve as a berthing point for ships sailing from southern Mindanao to Labuan.

"Presently, sea vessels carrying goods from southern Mindanao go directly to Labuan. If we open the Kudat port, we could tap into the southern Mindanao-Labuan shipping route," he said.

According to the Chief Minister, the Kudat Port would have all the necessary facilities, including customs, immigration, quarantine, and security (CIQS) checkpoints.

Hajiji said he has also discussed the matter with Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jauteh Dikun to address security considerations at the state Security Council.

Meanwhile, he said all state government officers must fully understand the meaning of the "Sabah First" policy, which prioritises Sabah’s interests in all endeavours.

"Foreign and non-Sabah investors looking to set up ventures here must have local Sabah interest holding a 30% stake in the venture," he said.

Hajiji said the state Cabinet has also approved Kota Kinabalu City Hall’s revised Sembulan Urban Renewal Scheme.

"We have agreed to allow landowners to stay there once the development is completed with agreed monetary compensation," he said.

The Chief Minister also announced that Sabah will host this year's Malaysia Day celebrations on Sept 16.

State Tourism, Culture, and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew will co-chair the organising committee with Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

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