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Sabah eyes global markets with AirAsia

Jeffrey (third left) receiving a model of Airbus 330 from Riad Asmat.

KUALA LUMPUR : Sabah Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan visited AirAsia’s RedQ headquarters on Tuesday to discuss collaborations between the state and the airline company aimed at bolstering Sabah’s export sectors.

During the meeting, the AirAsia team, led by its CEO Riad Asmat, presented an overview of their ecosystem, with particular focus on their specialised ventures—GTR, Teleport and AirAsia Grocer.

These ventures play a key role in exporting Sabah’s fresh products such as vegetables and seafood to Peninsular Malaysia and international markets, including China and Hong Kong.

Among the innovative initiatives discussed was AirAsia Grocer’s recent adoption of cold chain technology, centred around a new cold room facility in Inanam, aimed at ensuring that products from Sabah reach their destinations in optimal condition.

The airline is also in the planning stages of exporting Tambunan ginger powder to China, packaged in tea bags.

In his remark, Jeffrey praised AirAsia’s contributions to Sabah’s economy and believed that the cold chain technology implemented by AirAsia can revolutionise how Sabah’s products are perceived globally.

The Deputy Chief Minister was particularly enthused about AirAsia’s efforts to export Tambunan ginger powder to China.

“Sabah’s agricultural sector has immense untapped potential, and this venture could well be a catalyst that propels us onto the international stage,” he said.

Also present were officials from Fisheries, Koperasi Pembangunan Desa (KPD), and Veterinary Services, engaging in a Q&A session to explore potential collaborations.

“This is the kind of multi-stakeholder engagement that we need. It is vital for the growth of our state, and I am here to ensure that these collaborations come to fruition,” he added.

Jeffrey said the meeting was invaluable and believed that AirAsia could serve as a significant ally in the state government’s mission to boost Sabah’s export capabilities.

“The world needs to take note of what Sabah has to offer, and you can count on my full backing as we embark on this promising journey.”

— Ends