KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee has warned that the legal tussle involving the Sabah government over the purchase of timber concessionaire Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) Sdn Bhd may spook investors’ confidence in the state.
He said the SFI issue, which has been ongoing for a year now, would scare away potential investors whom the state government has been seeking to attract.
Established in 1982, Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd (SFI) is one of the largest timber growers and wood processors in Malaysia.
At present, the group manages a 712,000-acre forest estate in the south-western part of Sabah. Of the total forest land under its management, about 683,000 acres are operated under a 99-year concession granted by the state government from 1996, while about 29,000 acres are owned by SFI.
A showdown between politics and business is set to unravel in the “Land Below the Wind”.
Centred on Sabah’s lucrative timber industry, a legal tussle has begun involving the Parti Warisan Sabah-led state government, financially-struggling timber concessionaire Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd (SFI), SFI’s receiver and manager Grant Thornton Consulting Sdn Bhd and Pelangi Prestasi Sdn Bhd, a company related to one of the richest bumiputras in Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary.
Also Involved in the suit is China pulp and paper company Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd.