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‘Break From Tradition’ Dare

News From : DagangHalal.com (15 Nov 2009)

Kota Kinabalu: Local entrepreneurs must no longer depend on the traditional ways of doing things but be bold enough to focus on striking into the global market, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said Sabah has for too long relied heavily on exporting commodity products such as palm oil, rubber and cocoa.

“I believe the State would fare better if it can increase production of higher value added products arising from greater downstream activities,” he said, when launching the Borneo International Trade Fair 2009 (BITF2009) at Magellan Sutera, Saturday.

He said in order to go global or to do even better locally, businesses must be willing to allocate funds for Research and Development to create products and services that will catch the interest of consumers.

“The Government has a number of schemes designed to assist firms in R&D, and in product and market development. Businesses could also work with private research bodies, and with universities, to complement work done by the Government,” he said.

He said vast opportunities are in sight for halal products in the global market. “The potential of the halal industry has been the subject of wide interest for quite some time. Looking at current global market trends, it is increasingly clear that the halal food market has extended beyond serving the needs of Muslims around the world.

“This is due to the fact that the halal concept in food production is gaining recognition as a new benchmark for safety and quality assurance.

“The global market value for trade in halal food and non-food products is estimated at US$2.1 trillion annually and local entrepreneurs should find ways to take part in this lucrative sector,” he said.

Musa also urged local entrepreneurs to complement programmes under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) by continuing to keep themselves at breast with the latest technologies to meet challenges in the borderless world.

He said information and communication technology (ICT) had helped to reduce the cost and hassle of doing international business.

Another area that local entrepreneurs must explore was the technology-related businesses, especially with more advanced foreign partners in this field.

He said they must consider the prospect of collaborating with international parties in identifying key areas of technological interest that would benefit the local economy.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said the Government on its part would continue to support events such as the BITF as it brings benefits to local entrepreneurs and creates new business opportunities for the state.

He told the BITF 2009 delegates that to attract more investment from the private sector, the Government too was doing its part to improve infrastructure, which is a basic requirement for businesses to flourish.

“Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the national budget for next year, Sabah will continue to improve its infrastructure, and provide a platform for businesses to succeed,” he said, adding a lot of development in recent years in the state were implemented through a number of Federal and State led initiatives.

Towards this end, Musa said the SDC, which is an 18-year plan that leverages Sabah’s strength in a number of key areas, was one of the most important programmes undertaken by the government with support from the private sector.

“I am glad to note that the organisers have set up a special pavilion at the BITF so that delegates can learn more about the SDC and its progress,” he said.

He added that the theme for the second biennial BITF, “Your Ultimate Destination for Business, Culture and Nature,” accurately reflects Sabah in many ways.

He said that Sabah has a lot to offer to investors and visitors alike with its unique and peaceful multi-racial society feature combined with diverse cultures and natural wonders.

According to him, the trade fair was significant for Sabah as it provided the platform for local businesses to showcase their products and services to the global market, and at the same time exposed them to opportunities in other countries.

Musa also commended the organising committee comprising the Sabah Bumiputera Chamber of Commerce (SBCC), the Sabah United Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SUCCC) and the Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) for working together to stage the international level fair.

Meanwhile, SBCC President, Mohd Hasnol Datuk Ayob said the three-day BITF 2009 that started on Nov. 13 at the Kinabalu Sports Complex in Likas managed to garner participation from 170 companies taking up 190 booths.

“We also recorded foreign participation from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. I am please to note that these figures are an improvement over those achieved by the first BITF in 2007,” he said.

The BITF aims to promote and strengthen trade and investment relations in the region. “The BITF provides a platform for manufacturers and producers in Asean particularly within the BIMP-Eaga region and beyond to showcase their produces and services, as well as investment opportunities in their respective states and countries.

“It also provides a venue for businessmen and investors to interact, exchange ideas and information, and the opportunity to initiate and develop business ties, networks and friendships,” he said.

Also on hand were State Cabinet ministers, assistant ministers, Mohd Hasnol’s SUCCC counterpart, Datuk Sari Nuar and KCCI counterpart, Frederick Lojingki, Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) Chief Executive, Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari and consulate-general of the Indonesia, Japan and Brunei as well as delegates.

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