Sabah hopes for partnership with Chinese ports


Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang hopes that Sabah can forge strategic partnership with Chinese ports in order to transform Sepanggar Port into a regional transshipment hub.

Teo said there were many coastal cities in China with advanced international ports that could support Sabah in achieving this goal.

He said that during a courtesy call by the outgoing Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Chen Peijie here yesterday. Chen will be transferred back to Beijing on July 9.

Teo said the set up of the Chinese consulate in Kota Kinabalu was a historically significant and important milestone for the diplomatic relations between China and Sabah.

Since Chen assumed the Consul General’s post on January 30, 2015, Teo said Sabah and China have produced many fruitful results in the past two and a half years.

“Chen is a very capable lady. In just a few months after the consulate was set up, she has built good rapport with our top government officials and blended into the local Chinese community circle.

“She is also immensely popular among the Chinese community associations and educational organizations.”

With the facilitation by the Chinese consulate, Teo said visits at the government-to-government and people-to-people levels between Sabah and China have become increasingly frequent, which further enhanced the bilateral ties between both places.

“We hope the new Consul General will continue to carry out the good work done by the consulate.”

Teo said Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou cities have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing sister city ties.

“If everything goes smoothly, the official sister city agreement will be signed in October this year.

“I and Chen both long to see the establishment of sister province ties between Sabah and one of the provinces in China.

“I hope the Deputy Consul General, Zhang He and the new Consul General would render us assistance in this regard.”

On another note, Teo said he and Chen have become good friends as they often saw each other in government functions and events.

“We have always been very honest when exchanging views even on more sensitive topics.

“With that foundation in place, I believe the Sabah-China ties will grow stronger and better.”

Teo also said he would follow up on the prosecution and compensation pertaining to the catamaran capsize tragedy on January 28 raised by Chen during the courtesy call.

Meanwhile, Chen said the first official sister city ties between Sabah and China would be established when Kota Kinabalu signed the formal agreement with Hangzhou in October this year.

She said Kota Kinabalu had signed many Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on establishing sister city relationship with Chinese cities, including Wuhan and Hangzhou.

“But the first official sister city relationship between Sabah and China will be formed once Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou ink the agreement.”

She said Sabah could also explore forging sister province relations with Zhejiang Province or Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

“Zhejiang shares many similarities with Sabah, including located along the coastline; while Ningxia and Sabah can complement each other in different ways.”

For example, she said the desert in Ningxia could be a major attraction for Sabahans who are living along the coast all year round.

On another matter, Chen admitted that the catamaran capsize tragedy on January 28 this year was still on her mind even she was about to head for Beijing.

While the Chinese and Malaysian governments have responded swiftly in rescuing and treating the victims when the incident happened, the issue of prosecution and compensation for the victims have yet been resolved, she said.

As such, she hoped that the Malaysian and Sabah governments would expedite the process so as to give the victims and their families a justifiable solution.

Chen added that she had raised this matter to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun and Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din.

On a lighter note, Chen said Teo was one of her closest friends in Sabah.

“I consider myself very lucky to be able to work in Sabah because the government and community are incredibly friendly to our consulate.”

Although she is transferred back to Beijing, Chen said her colleagues and Zhang would continue to serve the people here.

“I sincerely hope that Sabah will progress even further under the leadership of the state ministers.”

Also present were political secretary to the minister, Peter Chong, liaison secretary to the minister, Albert Kok, Deputy Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Zhang He, Consul Zhong Jing and Vice Consul Liu Wei.

Source: The Borneo Post

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