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BIMP-EAGA initiative has achieved noteworthy successes in last 25 years
Posted on : 31 Mar 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post Online

BIMP-EAGA initiative has achieved noteworthy successes in last 25 years

Posted on March 31, 2019, Sunday at 12:02 AM News, Sarawak

(From left) Hii, Cheng, Morshidi, Abdul Karim, Noor Zari and Pengiran Kartini in a photocall with the Budayaw Festival flag.

KUCHING: The Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) initiative has achieved noteworthy successes in the last 25 years with the objective to accelerate economic development in the four-member countries.

Established in Davao City, Philippines in March 1994, the BIMP-EAGA initiative focuses on five strategic pillars, namely connectivity, food basket, tourism development, environmental management and social-cultural and education.

“Relationship among member countries and development partners has flourished and strengthened through BIMP-EAGA cluster,” says Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah when officiating at the soft launching of national-level BIMP-EAGA 25th anniversary and the second Budayaw Festival here on Friday night.

Accomplishments made under several BIMP-EAGA initiatives undertaken by BIMP-EAGA clusters and working groups are transport cluster, trade and investment facilitation sector, power and energy infrastructure, information and communication technology, agribusiness, tourism, environment and socio-cultural and education cluster.

Five transport memorandum of understandings (MOUs) were signed between BIMP-EAGA transport ministers for the establishment of new air routes, airport development, movement of people across border, establishment of sea linkages and road development.

The commencement of new air connections included Pontianak to Kuching in January 2018, Bandar Seri Begawan to Kuching in December 2018 and Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan in January 2019.

The trade and investment facilitation initiatives included participating in the biennial BIMP-EAGA and IMTGT trade fair and international investment fair and conference.

Under the information and communication technology, BIMP-EAGA Submarine and Terrestrial Cable System – a private sector-led project – completed its segment 1 and two projects linking Rimba, Brunei to Kota Kinabalu while other segment projects are ongoing.

“Agribusiness is looking forward to a partnership with Brunei in the agriculture sector mainly on padi, live stocks and aquaculture especially for northern Sarawak,” he said.

He added that Sarawak had witnessed the completion of the Sarawak-West Kalimantan Power Interconnection which falls under the power and energy cluster.

As for environmental cluster, Abdul Karim said Kuching, Labuan and Kota Kinabalu are identified as part of the BIMP-EAGA Green cities initiatives to promote healthy cities and sustainable environment.

“Kota Kinabalu, being the pilot city in BIMP-EAGA is finalising its green city action plan, which is expected to be launched in June 2019.”

On the tourism cluster, he said that BIMP-EAGA played an important role in promoting the region as an ecotourism destination in Asia and the Pacific.

“The strategic priorities being looked into are on connectivity and accessibility, ecotourism sites and signature events, capacity buildings and tourism packages.”

Abdul Karim hoped that  closer relations and collaboration among member countries and development partners of China and Northern Territory of Australia can be forged through  the BIMP-EAGA platform.

“Moving forward, BIMP-EAGA hopes to achieve the BIMP-EAGA Vision for 2025, which is resilient, inclusive, sustainable and economically competitive to narrow the development gap,” he said in his closing speech.

Since its inception, BIMP-EAGA cooperation initiative has adopted a public-private approach to development, with the private sector being the engine of growth and the public sector taking on the facilitating role.

More than 80 guests comprising chair of BIMP-EAGA clusters and working groups as well as officers from Sabah, Labuan and federal agencies that handle BIMP-EAGA matters were present during the dinner.

State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, Ministry of Economic Affairs’s deputy secretary general Datuk Noor Zari Hamat, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak and the second BIMP-EAGA Budayaw Festival 2019 festival chairman Hii Chang Kii, Brunie Consul-General in Kuching Pengiran Kartini Pengiran Tahir and China’s Consul-General in Kuching Cheng Guangzhong were also present.