KOTA KINABALU: Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (SEEDS) held a special session during the Second International Conference on Economics (ICE) 2019 at Pacific Sutera Harbour Hotel on Sept 18.
The conference organized by the Faculty of Business, Economics, and Accountancy, University Malaysia Sabah saw 150 participants from more than 10 countries.
In a specific session entitled ‘Know-Thy Neighbors: Exploring the Economic Potentials of Kalimantan,’ 8 papers were presented.
Topics expounded on include Malaysia-Indonesia Relations, Economy of Kalimantan, Malaysian Products in Kalimantan, the effects of cultural affinity on Sabah’s export, seaweed activity in Sebatik Island, tourism industry and potential effects of relocation of Indonesian capital city among others.
The speakers were Dr Rafiq Idris, Dr Arnold Puyok, Dr Rizal Zamani Idris, Dr Firdausi Sufian, Mr Azmi Abdul Majid, Dr James Alin and Dr Mazalan Mifli.
According to Dr Arnold Puyok, the Chairman of Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (SEEDS), the panel session was an excellent platform to SEEDS to present some data on what was already known about Kalimantan and other areas of interests that can be pursued
“Our next venture is to further engage with stakeholders in Sabah and Kalimantan so that they can work strategically for the benefits of both regions.”
In this regard, Dr Rafiq Idris, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of business,
Economics and Accountancy who is also the Deputy Chairman of SEEDS, Associate Fellow at Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies said ‘SEEDS had been very consistent on the effort of strengthening Sabah-Kalimantan economic relations through road connectivity and other measures.”
“We have organized many programs for the past few years by engaging with the authorities, academia in Malaysia and Indonesia, business communities and other stakeholders in both areas to discuss various concerns and strategy to further stimulate business and economic activities. Programs such as roundtable discussions, forum
and workshops have been organized several times.”
With regard to capital city relocation, Dr Rafiq Idris said ‘with or without it,’ it is important to have road connectivity with North Kalimantan as Kalimantan has big market size and the fact that their per capita income in both east and north Kalimantan are higher than Sabah. People these days are talking about Belt and Road Initiative where over 50 countries are to be connected via road. Why don’t we have road with our backdoor neighbour? Of course, other possible adverse effects should not be overlooked.”-pr/BNN