Borneo’s Sabah state will see $32B in investment
February 4, 2008
Malaysia put forth a $32.4 billion development plan for Sabah, a rainforest state on the island of Borneo, reports Reuters.
Last week Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the 18-year plan will stress sustainable development, but will include construction projects, expansion of oil palm and jatropha estates, and tourism promotion. Specific details were sparse.
Abdullah said the plan could create 900,000 jobs and quadruple the economy in Sabah, where poverty rates — at 23 percent — are the highest in Malaysia.
Environmentalists say that while logging and oil palm development are leading drivers of deforestation in Sabah, the benefits have not been well-distributed. Research released last year showed that neighboring Sarawak has seen a greater reduction in poverty rates over the past three decades despite substantially lower coverage of oil palm plantations.
According to Reuters, the plan calls for protection of critical ecosystems, including forests and rivers.