KOTA KINABALU, Sept 26 — A revised version of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme for Sabah will be tabled at the state legislative assembly, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
Without elaborating, Hajiji said the revision has been fine-tuned to make Sabah attractive to foreigners wishing to move here.
“The influx of talent and expertise will benefit us, especially for our Sabah Malaysia My Second Home (SMM2H) programme that will be tabled at the state legislative assembly soon,” he said during his speech at the official opening of the Republic of Korea Consulate here today.
He said that he hoped the revision will entice more high-value talents, including from South Korea, to move to Sabah.
Sabah is now home to approximately 2,000 Koreans, most of whom reside in the state capital.
“Though this number is relatively small, we are heartened by their active participation in our state’s economy. Collectively, they have made a significant impact, as many have chosen to settle here and bring a rich and diverse wealth of experiences and skills,” he said.
Hajiji said the setting up of the South Korean consulate here was a significant next step in the expansion of South Korea’s diplomatic and consular network as it sought to build and enhance regional and global relations.
Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the South Korea began in 1960.
In 2022, South Korea was listed as Malaysia’s eighth-largest trading partner and eighth-largest export destination, while trade relations between Sabah and South Korea have grown steadily, with Sabah’s trade export to South Korea registered at RM4 billion and Sabah’s imports from South Korea at RM900 million last year.
“The crowning jewel of this to date is, of course, South Korea’s RM4.2 billion SK Nexilis copper foil manufacturing project, one of Sabah’s largest foreign investments,” he said.
“The high-impact investment promised not only employment opportunities for Sabahans but also plays a vital role in advancing Sabah’s industrialisation and transitioning it into a sophisticated economy that will continue to benefit the South Korean stakeholders and the region,” he said.
South Koreans also make up a significant portion of foreign tourist arrivals into Sabah, with arrivals recorded at 95,966 (an increase of 2,705.2 per cent) from January to June 2023. The total number of arrivals is 1.2 million during the same period.
“As of September 2023, Sabah is connected to two cities — Incheon and Busan in South Korea with 23 flights and 4,409 seat capacity weekly. I am pleased that Sabah continues to be a sought-after destination for South Koreans,” he said.
“We acknowledge the special role the consulate will play in promoting bilateral relations and serving as a bridge to make connections. Together, we can achieve new heights and contribute to the prosperity of both Sabah and the Republic of Korea,” he said.
Also present at the opening today was South Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Yeo Seung-Bae.