Focus on biotech development
Borneo Post
7 August 2005

Sandakan: The State Government is very much in support of the Federal Government's call to local industries to focus on biotechnology development that includes diverse areas such as healthcare and agriculture.

"Our State is rich not only in land but also marine biodiversity. Therefore Sabah has the potential to take the lead in the marine biotechnology field," Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said on Saturday in his address during the launching ceremony of The Prospectus of Borneo Aqua Harvest Berhad at Sanbay Hotel yesterday.

This could in turn facilitate activities in the breeding and hatchery of high-value marine fishes. However, to achieve this end, we must elevate the standards of our country's research and development in this field, which requires experience and expertise, Musa pointed out.

The Chief Minister said Malaysia is strategically located in South East Asia with ideal conditions for commercial breeding of high-value marine fishes. The state of Sabah itself with its long coastline of about 1,600km and wide expanse of sea estimated to be more than 100,000 square nautical miles, is abundant in a variety of marine life.

"Along with its conducive water and weather conditions, Sabah has immense potential for research and development on the breeding species of near extinct or high-value marine fish for the commercial market," Musa said.

He added that China and Hong Kong which have one of the highest consumption of live fish in the Asia Pacific region, were turning to Malaysia for supplies as our research and technology efficiency in the marine aquaculture sector is increasing.

"Companies like Borneo Aqua with its integrated marine biotechnology operation is poised to be competitive in terms of pricing and value against other fish suppliers in the region," he added.

Musa noted that in this regard, the State Government would like to see other fish farmers focus on research and development in order to raise the standard of fish produce and production level to compete in the region.

The Chief Minister called for more companies to put serious thought in the development of marine biotechnology in the course of expanding their business as the positive development of the aquaculture industry would also generate employment opportunities particularly in the rural areas, not only in Sandakan but Sabah and Malaysia as a whole.

"I believe there is great potential in this industry not only locally and regionally but also big enough a potential to penetrate the international market. We must set our sights on the bigger picture and strive for higher benchmarks in order to achieve progress in this sector," Musa said.

Present at the ceremony were CIMB deputy chief executive Charon Wardini Mokhzani, Borneo Aqua Harvest Berhad chairman Datuk Md Kamal Bilal, managing director cum chief executive officer Datuk Lo Fui Ming and municipal council president Yeo Boon Hai.