04.02.2020 (The Borneo Post) - TAWAU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal said the plan to make Sabah a downstream industrial state has become a reality with the launch of Sabah’s own BESS brand cooking oil here yesterday.
Congratulating Benta Wawasan Sdn Bhd who managed to produce Sabah’s first cooking oil in a short time, Shafie said he had promised to manage Sabah better by developing the state towards industrialization with focus on downstream products.
He said the state has the raw materials and all it needs is commitment to produce and to create spillovers that will provide many with jobs.
Shafie said it does not stop there as the next course is to venture into soap and candle, which are other oil palm downstream products.
“This is a starting point to create more factories that support more downstream industries. I will be launching another ‘Made in Sabah’ cooking oil in Sandakan which is produced by Sawit Kinabalu,” he said.
Shafie said BESS will be sold locally at an affordable price, especially for the low-income group and there are already plans to market it to neighbouring countries at a competitive price.
He said Sabah has crude palm oil (CPO) to produce local products, and is also capable to improve the capacity for export while reducing export of CPO.
He also called on Benta Wawasan to contract out bottling, packaging and transporting of BESS to create spillover jobs to the locals.
Shafie said to make Sabah and industrial state is not a mere dream as apart from CPO products, furniture will also be produced from Sabah’s own timber.
“Although it will take time, there is already a joint-venture with a China company to set up a furniture factory in Kota Marudu,” he said.
BESS that stands for ‘Benta Sedap dan Sihat’ is a product by Benta Edible Oil Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Benta Wawasan Sdn Bhd. The factory currently produces 2,000 tons of packaged cooking oil per month.
The idea and vision was hatched by Shafie while Benta Wawasan took the challenge to realize the idea.
BESS cooking oil is sold at RM5 for a 1 kg bottle, RM9 for a 2 kg bottle and RM20 for a 5 kg bottle.
Shafie said he was still awaiting the subsidy approval from the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
“If approval is given, we may reduce the prices of BESS oil by up to 30 per cent, and this is among the government’s efforts to assist the people in providing a more affordable cooking oil,” he added.
Meanwhile, Shafie said a 200-acre (80.94-hectare) industrial area for the downstream sector would be developed in Tawau.
He said it would include industries such as cooking oil, candle, soap and cosmetics.
“There are several Japanese technologies developed for downstream products and Sabah will strive to establish collaborations with Japan to benefit from them. A technology we’ve seen is used only for palm-based cooking oil but there are various other products that can be produced to go downstream,” he said.