RM600m Sabah auto assembly plant
Published on: Friday, September 14, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd plans to invest RM600 million to set up an automotive assembly plant in Sabah over the next two to three decades.Tan Chong Motor Holding Bhd chief financial officer Daniel Ho Wai Ming said they met Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafee Apdal and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong to discuss the proposed investment.

He said Tan Chong has been in the State for many years and were synonymous with the automotive industry.

"We would like to explore what other investment opportunities we can work together with the State government so the discussion is to take it to the next stage where we want to have further investments in Sabah.

"At this moment we looking at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) and hope to work together with the new state government to take this investment to the next stage, to bring it in concept to reality.

"We are looking tentatively about RM600 million over period of 20 to 30 years. With setting up of the assembly plant, we hope to create at least 1,000 jobs for Sabahans.

"This is something we have been looking at for some time. We hope to work with the state government to take this investment to the next stage and go from concept to reality," he told a press conference at the PKNS building, Thursday.

Ho said Sabah was chosen due to its strategic location bordering Indonesia and the Philippines, both of which are growth areas.

"As always, when we set up manufacturing plants, we are also looking at export opportunities and exports to the BIMP EAGA growth areas offers a lot of potential. He added the State Government had pledged to help them sort out the land problem that they faced within a month.

Adding that the new State Government worked differently and wanted to make it happen in Sabah, Ho said one important aspect was to provide employment and technical knowledge to Sabahans, which is currently lacking.

In this regard Tan Chong had already begun a skills training centre in Sandakan to address demand.

"Once we have the assembly operations, there will be transfer of technical skills too."

Asked on the types of automobiles to be manufactured, Ho said the company was looking at commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and 4WD pick ups.

Jaujan thanked Tan Chong for its goal to set up the automobile plant which was also in line with the State Government's intention to attract more investments.

"The goal (of setting up the plant) is not only for economic development of the state but also to create jobs for local youths, he said adding that at the same time the setting up of the plants would create other opportunities that were related via vendors and vehicle service centres for example.

"We will try to bring in more investors, particularly in industrial set-ups, to develop the state economy and create jobs.

"This also ties up with the Technical and Vocational Training Education development in Sabah. It is important that we be ready with the right skills to welcome investors to the state," he said.

Ho added that Tan Chong was also exploring other potential business opportunities like converting waste (rubbish) to energy."

"We have proposing renewable energy for the State. Its still in the initial stage and to be located next to KKIP as there is land fill in Telipok (Kayu Madang)."

Ho said the waste (rubbish) will be converted to energy so that green energy can be provided to the state but added that the matter was still under study and discussion with the government.

Also present was Tan Chong group senior adviser Saharudin Muhamad Toha. - Neil Chan


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