KOTA KINABALU (October 16): Qhazanah Sabah Berhad, the state’s strategic investment arm, is on track to help transform Sabah after enduring its own
metamorphosis over the past two years.
Formerly known as Warisan Harta Sdn Bhd, the company underwent a rebrand to Qhazanah Sabah Berhad or QSB with a firm eye on the future.
The transformation within QSB as well as the company’s renewed focus on investments to sustain Sabah’s economy came following the appointment of former Chief Minister Datuk Salleh Tun Said as Chairman of the society.
Salleh, a member of the Usukan State Assembly, was instrumental in establishing the state’s investment arm in 1995 when he was chief minister.
After its inception 27 years ago, Qhazanah’s diversified portfolio encompassed logistics, including port operations, finance, telecommunications infrastructure, energy and healthcare services.
However, over the past two years, QSB has focused on businesses that would advance the state’s economy – an example includes rebranding KOJASA Holdings Bhd and launching KOJASA Mart – outlets retail with backroom operations driven by artificial intelligence (AI).
With the future in mind, QSB is also exploring the use of electric-powered public transport. It is conducting a trial for an electric bus service in Kota Kinabalu until the end of the year.
Ultimately, the plan provides for the integration of electric buses into the City’s public transit service.
This would, however, take time as QSB would need to get feedback from various stakeholders including authorities such as Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Department of Road Transport, as well as others. ministries and departments.
Besides the authorities, QSB would also engage those who already provide public transport services such as bus and minibus operators before going ahead with the plan.
QSB is also affiliated with a planned rapid transit system for the state capital that would stretch from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
The project would be undertaken in two phases, the first being a 10.5km skytrain service linking KKIA to the KK Central and Gaya Street terminals in the city center and over a 64ha mixed retail development known as Jesselton New City along the bay of Likas.
It had been estimated that the first phase would take about three years to complete with funding from a group of investors.
QSB is exploring the possibility of relocating the KKIA to meet the expected increase in demand for air travel in addition to using Sabah’s geographically central location in Southeast Asia to transform the state into a transportation hub air.
It is consulting with various government agencies and authorities on the relocation project which had been suggested as early as 2018 amid reports of congestion at the existing airport.
Planning for KKIA’s relocation from now is timely as a project of this magnitude could take at least eight to ten years to complete.
The company is also working to transform the sleepy northern town of Kota Belud into a bustling urban center through a new satellite township of Bandar Digital Tun Said, focused on information and communication (ICT).
The new township would create employment opportunities for Kota Belud’s youth, some of whom have headed to Kota Kinabalu and elsewhere in search of work, which would lead to an aging population in the district.
Apart from being a commercial and residential development, Bandar Digital Tun Said’s project would also provide housing for Kota Belud officials who currently occupied depleted government quarters.
QSB is also helping to assist with flood mitigation measures in Kota Belud by introducing a systematic and sustainable approach to sand mining activities in the district.
The company is also harnessing Sabah’s renewable energy potential. He works on solar and hydraulic power generation projects.
It is working with several companies on a joint venture basis to generate electricity in a sustainable manner with projects planned along the west and east coasts of Sabah.
QSB is also working to develop modern waste management facilities in Sabah using state-of-the-art technologies.
The company is also working on the development and management of utilities as part of the Sabah Utility Corridor.
With its vast experience in providing cellular telecommunications infrastructure, QSB strives to provide innovations and advanced digital solutions using 5G connectivity in Sabah.
QSB is paving the way for Sabah’s increased involvement in the digital content industry through its Industry Bridging Program (IBP).
Never forgetting its roots, QSB has never stopped giving back to the community. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the company provided relief to frontliners through contributions ranging from meals to laptops.
The company has also contributed to the less fortunate by providing medical aid such as wheelchairs for villagers, as well as chairs and canopies for community use.
It has helped to improve the lives of rural communities by contributing financially to various initiatives such as water supply systems.