KOTA KINABALU: Next week’s free trade agreement (FTA) signing between
Malaysia and India will be a further boost for the country’s palm oil
sector and Sabah, in particular, stands to benefit.
the state was already one of Malaysia’s biggest palm oil producers,
Indian High Commissioner Vijay Gokhale said that demand for the
commodity was set to increase with the FTA.
“We will essentially
depend on Malaysia and Indonesia, so Sabah has a big business
opportunity because we will import more and more palm oil,” he said.
said India would be reducing duties on palm oil as part of the FTA,
which will make it easier for Malaysian palm oil players to export to
“We will be continuing to import in growing quantities of
palm oil in the foreseeable future because India’s population is growing
and we can’t devote our land resources to the cultivation of palm oil,”
Gokhale had earlier met Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman and briefed him on the impending FTA.
He said two Indian firms Ballarpur Industries and Punj Llyoyd Ltd had already invested in Sabah.
had taken over the state’s sole pulp and paper manufacturer Sabah
Forest Industries while Punj Lloyd was involved in building the
“I understand that nearly 1,000 Indian
nationals working on the pipeline project engineers as well as (general)
workers,” he added
Gokhale said India was hoping to develop with
Sabah other areas such as agro-based industries, tourism, education and