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Making Sabah the place for events
Published on: Friday, January 19, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) scheduled for completion by end of October, this year, will be the catalyst for the city's growth, offering 75,000 sq metres of floor space across five levels.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman during a visit to the 15- acre site where the on-going construction is done along Likas Bay, Thursday, expressed satisfaction on the progress.

"The quality is good, we are happy and we hope cooperation from all will enable it to be completed as scheduled," said Musa who was accompanied by delegates comprising cabinet ministers as well as those from the Bumiputera Chamber of Commerce and Chinese Chamber of Commerce, among others.

"Of course it will provide more space and opportunity for us to conduct Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) because right now we lack space for international conferences and this can be the place for that.

"I believe this is also what traders, business people and entrepreneurs want, so that they too can hold exhibitions here," he said.

He thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for providing RM250 million for the construction of the SICC, in addition to funds from Yayasan Sabah.

"The cost is huge, the convention is also huge, and we think it needs to be huge because it gives space and opportunity for international organisers to hold exhibitions, meetings, conferences and so on.

"This is another development milestone which can add to the landmark in Kota Kinabalu which I believe can and will create more business opportunities for the people of Sabah," he said.

Once completed the five level SICC , owned by Yayasan Sabah, will feature an overall exhibition area of 20,400sq m and a performing arts hall with a two tier seating for 1,200 which comes with built-in stage with technology advanced audio visual and stage lighting among others.

The SICC will also feature three VIP lounges, two food and beverage outlets fronting the sea with sunset and sea view, a food court cum cafeteria and a car park with 1,041 parking lots, 249 motorbike parking lots, 16 truck unloading parking lots and seven accessible parking lots for guests that may have mobility concerns.

For a start, there will be about 650 job opportunities, with the figure expected to grow over the years.

This was disclosed by Yayasan Sabah Deputy Director cum Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Innoprise Corporation Datuk Rosmawati Lasuki who said what Yayasan Sabah is now doing is to create job opportunities and equally share the work from the city to the rural area.

"Yayasan Sabah has been doing capacity building and have been giving scholarships, now we are creating jobs, not in terms of work in the office but spinoffs in terms of activities, entrepreneurship.

"We are linking the city to the kampung area, we want the kampung people to give us the resources, maybe they can create consortium so that they can link maybe from the farm to the kitchen.

"It will help them market whatever product they have, we have also engaged Accor, a French company, to help manage the convention centre, why we choose them is because we want our locals international.

"Now we have a roadshow to go out and interview our youths, get their names and send them for six months training, we want locals to come in as staff, as entrepreneurs, we also want caterers to be locals.

"We want to avoid situations like during the timber days when we had influx of those from neighbouring countries coming in to work, now we want to engage our locals especially in terms of entrepreneurship so that they can also create job opportunities.

"Our intention is for this place to be a public area, although it is also a convention, security is also one of the most important thing, but at the same time we create a venue where people can converge that is why we have the restaurants outside. There is also going to be a flyover from SICC all the way to Yayasan Saban and long term plans for a water taxi.

"Within five years Kota Kinabalu will be very different I think because everything will have to be completed within five years. We are good in our leisure, but we want to enhance our value and that is why we have this convention centre.

"MICE is not only talking about conferences but it can also elevate the mind-set of the people.

If you want to be a knowledgeable society, you must have a venue for people to come listen.

"That is what Yayasan Sabah wants, instead of giving out loans, this is another way of capacity building , it gives opportunity for people to gain knowledge from all the meetings here.

"Our aim is to make Yayasan Sabah relevant to the government and we will grow and change our landscape and with the help of also making our people at par with international," she said. - Sherell Jeffrey

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