SEDIA plays key role in state's progress
It is the year 2025 in Sabah. A strong manufacturing alongside a vibrant tourism sector has quadrupled gross domestic product. The success of various economic clusters has created wealth reaching far into the hinterlands. As a transshipment hub for the world especially for Asia and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area, the Sapangar Bay Container Port supports a wide range of industries from the traditional palm oil to nanotechnology.
This was the vision of the Malaysian government when it created the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in 2008. To direct and drive the growth of SDC, the government also established the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA). The body plays the crucial role of co-ordinating, promoting and accelerating the growth of the corridor.
"We would like to position Sabah as a lifestyle and business destination and at the same time reduce the gap between the more developed and less developed areas," says Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari, president and CEO of SEDIA.
The office has been busy promoting SDC overseas. The doctor in sociology from the University of Salford in England arrived with his team from the United States and Europe where they met with potential investors. His other colleagues came in from road shows in places such as Hong Kong and South Korea.
"We have locked in substantial investments, but it is also our concern to get our investors moving on the ground," Johari says. "That is why we work closely with them in forming ideas and ensuring their projects take off."
As a one-stop service provider for enterprises going into SDC, SEDIA covers the whole range of investors' needs. In addition to helping companies secure the necessary permits and licences, the government body customises incentive packages, offers investment advisory and helps investors find the right partners.
Dedicated to realise its vision for the corridor, SEDIA has lined up several initiatives. It is establishing satellite offices across the different economic clusters to heighten operational efficiency. In line with this goal, SEDIA is developing a research and development network and centralised database system where investors can share information and expedite access to know-how, expertise and other key business information. SEDIA is also working on non-fiscal incentives to further attract investments.
"We are trying to mobilise all these initiatives as we continue to engage investors," Johari says. "We will make our dream for SDC happen."
Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA)