The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) hopes that a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Singapore and Sabah is implemented as soon as possible.
Its president Tan Sri TC Goh said this programme can help bring in more investments and tourists from Singapore.
He said this after Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the government is also prepared to include Sabah, Sarawak and Penang in the VTL programme following its introduction between Singapore and Malaysia at the KL International Airport (KLIA) recently.
“We eagerly look forward to its implementation between Sabah and Singapore,” said Goh, who is also president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) and a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC).
“Besides boosting investment and tourism, the VTL would also facilitate the return of Sabahans currently working or studying in Singapore to see their families,” he said in his speech at the closing ceremony of the Chinese New Year Carnival 2022 organised by FCAS at Dataran Deasoka, Gaya Street here on Monday (Jan 31).
Goh acknowledged that Singaporean investors and tourists fit in well with the state government’s strategy to strike a balance between developing mass and high-end tourism.
“For the development of high-end tourism, Singaporean tourists are obviously among the top choices for Sabah because, besides the short distance (a two-hour flight) from Singapore to Sabah, Singaporean tourists are also well known for their spending power,” he said.
He also welcomed and supported Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s previous announcement that the state government intended to set up trade and tourism offices in Singapore, and hoped that this could be expedited as well.
“Singapore is one of Sabah's 10 largest trading partners, with a trade volume of RM133mil as of January 2021,” Goh said.
Sabah’s main exports to Singapore included palm oil, crude oil, seafood, agriculture and wood-based downstream products among others, he added.
He said once the state government established trade and tourism offices in Singapore, more entrepreneurs, international investors and business travellers from the island republic would be attracted to explore opportunities and take vacations in Sabah.
He urged the Sabah government to expedite the setting up of these offices to enhance bilateral relations with Singapore, and boost economic recovery and development of various sectors in the state.
At the same event, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Abidin Madingkir said the multiracial people of Sabah should be proud of their established and well-preserved racial and cultural harmony and unity.
“The people must continue to preserve such harmonious features towards helping the state government achieve its aspiration of creating a progressive and prosperous Sabah,” he said.
He also commended FCAS for its dedication and efforts in organising the annual Carnival, which he acknowledged was significant towards promoting unity as well as racial and religious harmony.
He also expressed hope that the Year of Tiger, which symbolises courage and vitality, would bring success and prosperity to Sabah and its people.
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