Sabah searching for partners to set up auto hub at KK Industrial Park


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah state government is looking for potential partners to help set up an automotive production hub at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) near here.

State Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said a 81-hectare land at the park has been set aside for the purpose.

“We have limited space but it is important for us to supply (automotive products) to the region including Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP EAGA).

“Besides Tan Chong (Motor Holdings Berhad), we are also looking for Boon Koon (Group Berhad) and will explore other potential partners,” he said, adding that there was also possibility for partnership with Thailand which has reputable automobile manufacturing ranking in the world.

Tan, who is also state Industrial Development minister, was speaking after the launch of inaugural Thailand-Sabah Business Matching and Networking 2017 here yesterday.

The hub, located near the port, will not only assemble and produce cars for daily use, but also commercial and heavy vehicles for the construction sector.

He said with the completion of the mega highway project, the Pan Borneo Highway that connects Sabah and Sarawak, it also means better connectivity and higher traffic volume that would be benefit the automobile industry.

Meanwhile, Tan also disclosed that a smaller piece of land at the KKIP would be turned into an auto-city with at least one-kilometre track meant for drag racing.

“The properly-designed track with high quality of safety feature for tournament will complement the ready-built factories and bring all suppliers for parts and accessories in one place.

“The track will also allow enthusiasts to conduct races in a safer place instead of doing it elsewhere (dangerously) in Sabah.”

Earlier, he said with the availability of direct flight from Bangkok to here, the state anticipates further alliances and partnership.

“Sabah and Thailand share a lot of similarities in terms of products, but Thailand is well ahead in technology and marketing that our state can learn from.”

The programme was organised by KadazanDusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia to find business matching and share knowledge with Thailand especially in Small and Medium Enterprises sector.