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The company, Diving Best, is in discussions with the Sabah Economic and Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) to facilitate its proposed development of the large-scale tourism project in the Semporna area, reported the local English daily the Star.
SEDIA chief executive officer Dr Mohd Yaakub Johari said they had met the Chinese officials for the second time on Monday as a follow-up to the first meeting in June last year.
According to Johari, the Chinese group had expressed strong interest in developing a large area in Sipadan into a tourism-based resort, commercial and high-end residential areas with a focus on marine activities.
Under the proposal, he said the project would be developed under five zones, a residential area, commercial development, a high-end resort, a diving school and an administrative centre at a total investment cost of 2.5 billion RM.
He said the company expected to attract one million tourists annually, provide 4,000 jobs, house a population of 12,000, and have a construction scale of 700,000 square meters with the project.
Diving Best is based in Sanya City in China’s Hainan Province while Sabah is well-known in China as an eco- and marine-based tourism destination.
Malaysia’s newly appointed Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Honorable Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, had revealed plans for the nation’s big tourism push, the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY2014) campaign during his 9-day North American tour in October.
The campaign aims to attract 28 million tourists to the country in 2014, in efforts to reach their target of 36 million tourist arrivals by the year 2020 as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020.