TARAKAN (Indonesia), Oct 2 — The island of Borneo, which is shared by three countries including Malaysia, has the potential to be an economic powerhouse in the Asian region, said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said the area, covering Sabah dan Sarawak, Kalimantan dan Brunei, was rich with natural resources, particularly oil and gas.
The island’s proximity to China and South Korea would also contribute to the economic growth, he said.
“I am confident Borneo can become a regional economic power not only due to its large size but also its resources and geographical position,” he said in his speech when paying a courtesy call to North Kalimantan Governor Dr Ir H. Irianto Lambrie here today.
This was in conjunction with his three-day working visit to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan and Tarakan, North Kalimantan, which ends today.
Hence, he said, it was time to strengthen the trade collaboration involving Sabah especially with Kalimantan for mutual benefit.
Mohd Shafie said Sabah, with a population of 3.9 million people, was among the second largest state in Malaysia and was also rich with natural resources—the country’s largest producer of oil and second largest for gas.
Meanwhile, H. Irianto described Mohd Shafie’s visit as an effort to improve the quality of the long-established collaboration between Kalimantan and Sabah that began officially more than two decades ago through the establishment of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) in 1994.
He said he also wished for the collaboration to be carried out in a quality manner and not just through signing a memorandum of understanding or agreement.
This, he added, was because there had been many such agreements in various areas, not many of which had been realised. — Bernama