Malaysia: Qatar ponders investment in Sarawak halal hub

By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter Gulf Times

An aerial view of the proposed hub in Sarawak, Malaysia.
An aerial view of the proposed hub in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Qatar will build a hub at Tanjung Manis in Sarawak, Malaysia, mainly for the production of pharmaceuticals and halal food.
The Tanjung Manis’ halal hub is home to more than 77,000 hectares of agricultural  land. It is being eyed as one of the largest halal hubs in the world.
“Qatar is ready to invest in Sarawak while creating new job opportunities for the people here,” said acting charge d’ affaires at the Qatari embassy in Kuala Lumpur Rashid al -Mulla, who was on an official visit to Sarawak recently.
Inside Investor,  a global company that provides  business information and data to investors, quoted the diplomat  as saying that Qatar is also planning to build a hub in Doha from where products manufactured in Sarawak would be exported to the Middle East market.
Al-Mulla cited Malaysia’s potential areas of investments especially in the field of halal food and heavy industries.
“The strong emphasis put on developing the aquaculture sector and fishing industries in Sarawak provides an opportunity for Qatar to be involved in the production of halal gelatine,” he said.
Al-Mulla sees gelatine as one of the new products that is in-demand. He said: “it has a potential growth for this market especially in biometric and medicine.” The diplomat stressed that Qatar is investing heavily in agriculture and food production.
Saying that his country wants to enhance its relations with Malaysia, al-Mulla expressed confidence that the project will be implemented. The partnership was announced during the Inside Asia Forum organised by Inside Investor in October 2012 in Doha.
Inside Investor’s CEO Kamran Saddique said the forum aims to enhance trade and investment ties between the Middle East and Asean. “It is great to see this moving forward and Inside Investor looks forward to facilitating  more deals between the two regions.”
Sarawak’s chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud earlier said that he was expecting $3 bn in investments from Qatar. Aside from gelatin production, Sarawak is looking for investments  in palm oil, aquaculture and aluminum projects.
Mahmud had met with HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, and discussed possible Qatari direct investments in Sarawak in October 2012.
According to Inside Investor ,  the prime minister identified halal food production, fashion and cosmetics as possible investment targets for Qatari companies in Sarawak.