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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 The Star
 Innovation,creativity can boost BIMP-EAGA

Thursday September 9, 2004 - KOTA KINABALU: The business community withinthe Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area(BIMP-EAGA) has been reminded that innovation and creativity are needed tofully exploit opportunities available within the grouping.

We need a certain amount of creativity to find ways to see how best we canprogress together, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said when launching theSabah International Conference.

He said the participation of government representatives and businessmenfrom 20 countries in this year’s one-day conference and the SabahInternational Expo showed there was greater interest in the BIMP-EAGA.

Musa said much of the natural resources in the growth area, spanning 1.54million sq km across the territories of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia andthe Philippines remain untapped while the region’s population of about 50million was a sizeable consumer market.

He said these untapped resources could provide investment opportunitiesfrom neighbouring and more developed countries including Japan, Australiaand those in Europe.

Sabah with its central location in the EAGA and developed infrastructurecould serve as the gateway for investors intending to come into the regionto harness these resources, he added.

Musa said many of the Sabah government’s policies were geared at creatinga business climate.

He said Sabah’s economy was predominantly export-oriented with palm oilmaking up 25% of the state’s export revenue followed by crude petroleumtotalling 22%. Tourism contributed about 20% of the state’s GDP.

Trade patterns show that there exist many opportunities in the agricultureand food sectors such as the production and processing of rice, fruits,vegetables, fisheries and livestock. The forestry as well as the mineral,oil and natural gas sectors all have potential, Musa said.