Action against non-investor friendly department heads

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TUARAN: Action will be taken against any department head found hindering the state government’s effort to bring in investors to Sabah, warned Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor.

The Chief Minister said there have been instances where department heads were found to unilaterally impose their own rules for investors interested to invest in the state.

“By doing that, they have sent the wrong signals to these investors who would then shy away from pursuing investment interests in the state.

“I am watching and I will not hesitate to take stern action,” he said at the swearing-in ceremony and presentation of appointment letters to 19 Tuaran District Councillors for the 2023/2025 term at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort here today.

Hajiji pointed out that the role of the department heads was to facilitate investments.

“If everything is in order there is no need to make it difficult for the investors. The government is investor-friendly.

“And, we want to create more jobs for the people… that is why we are bringing in more investors to Sabah,” he said.

The Chief Minister also disclosed that in the past two years, the total investments received by Sabah amounted to more than RM30 billion.

The latest, he said, was the Singapore-based Esteel Group which brought in a total investment of USD2 billion at the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (SOGIP).

“Not only it creates job opportunities for our people but also big economic spinoffs,” he said.

The Esteel investment will produce HBI (Hot Briquette Iron) & flat steel at SOGIP for Phase 1, to be followed by multi-billion dollar investments to produce green steel products in subsequent phases.

On another note, Hajiji urged all district councillors to play their role and discharge their responsibility to their level best.

“The role of the councillors as part of the local government is vital, particularly in ensuring developments in their respective areas are done properly and systematically.

“Do not be complacent. Monitor the development in your area well to avoid it becoming a ‘rojak’ (haphazard) development,” he said.

The Chief Minister meanwhile said the Tuaran councillors needed to capitalise on the district’s proximity to the state capital by ensuring the development spillover could be felt by the people in the district.

Hajiji also urged all councillors and management of local authorities to be sensitive and proactive in implementing government policies besides being able to think outside the box.

“Make sure customers are satisfied with the services in their dealings with the government,” he added.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister II cum Minister of local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Joachim Gunsalam, Rural Development Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim, Tuaran elected representatives, Local Government and Housing Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Datuk Dr Jamili Nais and District Officer, Hadzlan Jablee.

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