Sarawak mission to Abu Dhabi to woo investors to Tanjung Manis Halal Hub

By Nasriah Hj Darus

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 (Bernama) -- Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will lead an investment mission to Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to woo investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries who have shown a huge interest in the state''s Tanjung Manis Halal Hub (TMHH).

The mission from today until Feb 3 and part of the "Invest Malaysia 2011" conference to be held there, aims to secure investors for the integrated halal hub, one of the state’s largest development initiatives.

Invest Malaysia 2011 meanwhile, is an event that will foster closer economic cooperation between Malaysia and the GCC nations, Datuk Norah Tun Abdul Rahman, the executive chairman of TMHH told Bernama today. She said the mission was being organised in conjunction with the launch of the Invest Malaysia 2011 special report and forum in Abu Dhabi on Jan 30. The event will be jointly opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, will be in Abu Dhabi to expand political, as well as trade and investment links between Malaysia and the UAE.

"The investment road show on the TMHH is our first in the Middle East and has generated strong interest from the GCC investing community even before we left here to meet them," said Norah, who will also be spearheading the state''s crucial mission to the UAE.

"Due to the food security issues currently plaguing Arab nations, the Tanjung Manis project has become a talking point, generating immense interest among the GCC investors," she explained. Norah said that Arab nations were the largest net importers of food and cereals in the world,as land there was scarce, coupled with the dwindling availability of arable land suitable for agriculture.

"Being an advanced halal hub, Tanjung Manis has the advantage of downstream and upstream value chains, where the availability of raw materials for food production via agriculture and aquaculture is our key advantage," she added.

Its other strong point is the focus on mid-value chain activities such as food processing, "where we have end-to-end solutions in an integrated development"," she said. The TMHH is an ideal investment destination as it sits on 77,000 hectares of land suitable for agriculture, aquaculture, food processing,biotechnology and horticulture initiatives. It is envisaged to be one of the most advanced hubs in the world due to its connectivity, technology industry components, green aspects and the recent upgrading of its port and aviation infrastructure within its vicinity. The TMHH, a project under the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), was mooted to ensure that Sarawak achieves the status of a developed state by 2020, working in unison with the vision and targets of the country''s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). To date, the Sarawak state government has invested up to RM1.3 billion in Tanjung Manis to develop and modernise its infrastructure and public network, which has gone down well with the Middle East investing community. It is a high economic impact project for food security and has been given the full support of state government, which has deemed it a priority project.

At the same time, it will position Sarawak as one of the most attractive halal investment destinations in the world. The TMHH foresees an investment of RM10 billion over the next five years for the various infrastructure, development and industry business components into it from the private investor. The TMHH also sees the Middle East as a strong area of interest for investors in the project, as apart from their food security and land scarcity issues, the region has also an affinity to investing in Malaysia.

Norah said that she is also expected to visit Qatar and other Middle East cities after Abu Dhabi.

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