The road to Kalimantan signals economic growth for Sabah SMEs


KOTA KINABALU: There is room for growth if Sabah taps into the Kalimantan market which is four times the size of the state.

Rafiq Idris, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Business, Economics and Accountancy Faculty said the plan to connect the state with North Kalimantan via Kalabakan would create huge benefits for both economies.

“This connectivity could stimulate demand from Kalimantan for Sabah’s products with lower costs of importations and productions. It will also open opportunities for Malaysian investors to invest in Kalimantan,” he said in a statement.

The road will also help to expand Sabah’s small - and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as benefit the tourism and education sectors when movement between both places become easier.

He added the state has had bilateral trade transactions with North Kalimantan and this has proven to be an increasing trend in recent years.

Sabah’s main exports to Indonesia include mineral products and chemicals, while the imports from Indonesia are animal and vegetable oils, food, chemical and manufactured goods.

Meanwhile, among the products being transported from the ports in Sabah to Kalimantan are sugar, tobacco, clothing, footwear and metals.

Rafiq said the state could also look into downstream activities by processing raw materials from its neighbour and re-exporting those products.

He also stressed that stakeholders should be constantly promoting its products to the Kalimantan market now and not just to wait for better connectivity.