Boost for local traders

Posted on : 17 Apr 2018  Source of News: borneo post online

Govt considers setting up free trade zone near KIA to enable efficient transfer of products

Abang Johari (fourth right) with Awang Tengah (third right) and Zhong (second right) take a look at the mono crystalline ingot produced by LONGi. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: The government is planning to set up a free trade zone (FTZ) near the Kuching International Airport (KIA) to give a boost to the commerce industry.

In disclosing this yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the proposed free trade zone would serve traders well in terms of transfer of products.

“The government is planning to establish a free trade zone area near the airport so that logistically you can transfer your products efficiently,” he said when launching LONGi (Kuching) Sdn Bhd in Samajaya High Tech Park here.

It is believed that the move to establish the FTZ for Sarawak is to emulate the success of the Digital FTZ (DFTZ) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which has become the gateway for some 200 local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to penetrate the global market.

The DFTZ is the world’s first special trade zone that will promote the growth of e-commerce by providing a state-of-the-art platform for SMEs and enterprises to conduct their businesses and services.

Abang Johari assured foreign investors that the government is committed to improving the state’s road connectivity through the Pan Borneo Highway, the construction of which is ongoing, and upgrading of the coastal and trunk roads.

He said the government is also committed to enhancing air and sea connectivity by upgrading the state’s airport and seaport facilities.

Over the past five years, he said Sarawak had been ranked among the top three most favourable investment destinations in Malaysia and the total investments approved for Sarawak amounted to RM46.3 million.

“The rapid expansion of LONGi as well as others such as Taiyo Yuden and X-FAB here in Samajaya shows that these foreign investors have high confidence in the state government.

“Not only do we want to attract new investments, we also want to make sure they prosper and continue to expand,” he pointed out.

The Chief Minister said the state government also wanted the multinational corporations (MNCs) to transfer their technologies, expertise and knowledge to the local communities.

He also urged local entrepreneurs particularly the SMEs to forge strong partnerships with these MNCs so as to create a win-win situation.

Earlier, he said LONGi (Kuching) Sdn Bhd would augur well with the state’s digital economy initiative, through which the state government aimed to move its industrial sector towards Industry 4.0.

“The government is also serious in developing human talents by setting up a Digital Village in Samajaya and incubators throughout the state to nurture creativity, innovation and technopreneurship to drive the state towards high income economy through digital economy platforms,” he added.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, and LONGi chairman Zhong Baoshen.