POIC Lahad Datu attracts RM300 mln investment from Japan

KOTA KINABALU, Sabah’s trade mission to Japan led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has been successful, with two energy firms already expressing their interest to invest in the state’s renewable energy sector, particularly biomass.

The two companies are expected to invest almost RM300 million in the Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) for a long-term range.

A Land Lease Agreement with one of the companies will be signed in Tokyo on Tuesday, while another with F Bit Communications Corporation in Kota Kinabalu by mid-December.

F Bit Communications Corporation, which operates three 10-megawatt biomass plants, was one of the 140 Japanese companies that attended a business seminar here on Friday.

Lahad Datu POIC chief executive officer Datuk Dr Pang Teck Wai, in a statement today, said it was a swift decision after having only met the corporations a few months ago.

They have shown keen interest and I believe we will soon secure an agreement for them to operate in POIC, he said.

Sabah is capable of producing three million tonnes of empty fruit bunches and palm kernel shells annually � a factor that attracted the two energy firms, as well as the strategic location of the POIC Port.

Dr Pang said this would help create jobs for Sabahans and even pave the way for the production of high-value products such as carbon.

Mohd Shafie is on a seven-day working visit to Japan since Friday in the quest to attract more investments into the state.

Sabah’s advantage as a producer of natural gas and crude oil is expected to give state-owned Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn Bhd (SEC) an edge in its pursuit of investors in Japan.

SEC has so far held discussions with three companies in Kobe to collaborate in the fields of gas and energy with potential investments of millions of ringgit.

SEC chief executive officer Datuk Harun Ismail, who is a member of the trade mission, said the corporation will seek more investment opportunities in Nagoya and Tokyo to woo Japanese companies to invest in the fields of natural gas and energy in Sabah.

They can set up plants in Sabah and create plenty of jobs for Sabahans, he said.

He expressed confidence that the policy to provide easier access to investors to expand into Sabah as espoused by Mohd Shafie is the best platform to develop the natural gas and energy industries in the state.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)