By Alfred Petrus
KOTA KINABALU: The Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) Lahad Datu is set to become a key component of the Lombok-Makassar shipping route development following the inking of the Port Collaboration Agreement (PCA) with Indonesia Port Corporation 2 (Pelindo 2) today.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said the State government was optimistic now that the collaboration has been formalised.
“We have seen how geographic location and quality port infrastructure combined to bring about rapid growth and prosperity in different parts of the world.
“Closer to us is the Straits of Malacca that is today a globally important shipping lane. I would like to think that our collaboration today marks the beginning of our cooperation towards a shared prosperity in the context of neighbourliness,” he said.
Met after witnessing the PCA signing ceremony at Wisma Perindustrian near here, Madius who is also Minister of Trade and Industry said POIC Sabah has been looking to increase vessels movement along the Lombok-Makassar Straits.
“We believe in its future. Our faith is demonstrated by having about RM1 billion in port infrastructure at our palm oil industrial cluster in Lahad Datu in these recent years.
“Leveraging on our deep harbour wharf and calm waters, we are not only looking at promoting oil palm-related downstream export-oriented manufacturing industries, but also looking to attract petrochemical and logistics investments as well as the trans-shipment of raw material,” he said.
Meanwhile, looming in the background was Indonesia’s proposal to move its capital to Kalimantan, Madius said that Sabah was anxiously anticipating any development that will have wide ranging impact on regional cooperation in the context of BIMP-Eaga, movement of people and resources, geopolitical issues and many more.
“Although we have read about concerns that the move may have a negative impact to the Heart of Borneo initiative and other ecological worries but due to of its proximity to us, I believe we will be the beneficiaries of many collateral gains.
“As we all know the BIMP-Eaga territories of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Southern Philippines, Sulawesi and Kalimantan are major centres of natural resources.
“Much of these resources are located on the island of Borneo of which Kalimantan is a major part of. The Malaysian Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, together with the Kalimantan provinces of Indonesia, produce most of the world’s palm oil,” he said.
He stressed Kalimantan also control much of the world’s coal deposits and he believed the relocation of Indonesia’s national capital to Borneo would bring the needed focus on BIMP-Eaga and catalyse the dormant potentials of the growth area. -SabahNewsToday