Massive interest in POIC
KOTA KINABALU, Thurs. (Jan 19) --
The government is giving special concession for the development of the
palm oil industrial cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu as
investors’ interest grew.
At a special meeting in the
Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities in Putrajaya last
week, officials of POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, the developer of the cluster,
were told that, among other things, requirements for the setting up of
palm oil refineries within POIC Lahad Datu will be less restrictive.
The details are being worked out.
POIC Chairman Datuk Ewon Ebin,
who is also State Minister of Industrial Development, headed the Sabah
delegation at the crucial meeting, as well as a series of visits to
companies which have expressed interest and intent in investing in the
Lahad Datu POIC.
“The people we visited
are those who have expressed interest in coming to Lahad Datu. We are
pleased that their keenness is now intensified in the wake of the new
concessions being granted to us,” he said. “We
expect to firm up sale of land to them once we finalized our
sub-division and land price next month.”
Among the companies visited were
Pan-Century Oleochemical Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of an Indian
conglomerate, PGEO Group Sdn Bhd, J.C. Chang (Pte) Ltd and Felda
Bulkers Johor Sdn Bhd.
Ewon said the interest of the
companies was reflected by the fact that top decision makers were
present at all the meetings, from Jan 12-17.
The Sabah delegation met
Pan-Century’s President/CEO Mr Dilip Gaur, PGEO’s
Managing Director Mr Yee Chek Toong, J.C. Chang’s Executive
Director Mr Shien Chang and Felda Bulkers’ CEO Mr Wee Fang
POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd, formed in May
2005, has a 10-year master plan to develop up to 3,000 acres of land
just outside Lahad Datu Town into Malaysia’s only palm oil
It is envisaged that the cluster
will transform Lahad Datu, and will make this town in southeastern
Sabah into a palm oil logistic and shipping hub, as well as becoming
Malaysian’s fourth palm oil futures delivery port after Pasir
Gudang (Johor), Port Klang (Selangor) and Butterworth (Penang).
Last December, POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd
signed a framework agreement for a joint-venture with a Korean and a
Malaysian-based Chinese company for the setting up of a 600,000 tonner
per year biodiesel plant in Lahad Datu.
Ewon, who is taking a personal
interest in the meetings with officials and potential investors, said
that based on the feedback he gathered, investors’ interest
“Many are keen to sign
up immediately … and we have since have to think hard about
how fast we need to develop to meet their (investors’) demand
especially in the area of infrastructure, particularly the
port,” he added.
Responding to the potential
investors’ concern about the long-term availability of raw
materials especially crude palm oil, POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd is formulating
strategies to “lock in” supplies from
Sabah’s 1.2 million hectares oil palm plantations, and
roughly 2 million hectares of plantations being developed in the
Indonesian province of East Kalimantan, located south of the
Indonesian-Malaysian border from Lahad Datu.