Kota Kinabalu, Wednesday, 10 February, 2021
Year of Ox bring both hopes and fears
People all over the world will be welcoming the year of the Ox with both hopes and fears. Hopes that the global economy will recover and that there will be peace among nations. At the same time, there is this underlying fear that the economic malaise caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will linger on for another year or so.
Malaysia and Sabah recovery achievable
In Malaysia, there is every reason to believe that the projected economic growth of 5.1% can be achieved because of the country’s strong fundamentals, favourable trade with our main trading partners and the steady hand of our Prime Minister in steering the country towards a robust economic recovery. Already, we can see that the ground work is being laid for a post-pandemic economic recovery.
As for Sabah, in the coming year, it looks like we have to fall back on our fundamental strengths such as agriculture and fisheries. The tourism sector will likely be able to start recovering in the third quarter of the year.
To kick start the construction sector, Sabah will desperately need huge government spending on infrastructure projects, such as the Pan Borneo Highway, ports and public housing.
Our trade with China and, increasingly, with Indonesia, two of the fastest growing economies in Asia, will continue to see surpluses in Sabah’s favour. What Sabah needs is to greatly increase our connectivity to the rest of the world, especially within the newly inaugurated RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) which is the biggest trading block in the world. RCEP consists of the ten ASEAN countries and China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Sabah is fortunately to be strategically located in the centre of RCEP.
In the coming month, Sabahans look forward to the unveiling of the Sabah Maju Jaya plan. This SMJ Plan, a brain child of the Chief Minister, will show the way forward in Sabah’s socio-economic plan.
With these hopes of a brighter and happier year of the Ox, I wish everyone good health, happiness and prosperity.
Datuk Yong Teck Lee