Kota Kinabalu enjoys great geographical advantages
Sabah, the second largest state in Malaysia, and with Kota Kinabalu as its capital, has a total area of 74,500 square kilometres and an overall population of 3.9 million. It is a tropical paradise with crystal clear blue waters and white sandy beaches and magnificent sunset views amidst one of the world’s oldest tropical rain forests. The lofty, famed Mount Kinabalu is also another attraction for foreign and domestic tourists visiting the city.
Famously known as “The Land Below the Wind”, Sabah is also one of the top diving destinations in the world where one can explore the seemingly endless rings of pristine coral reefs of the South China Sea – a truly mind-blowing experience.
Direct air links boost visitor arrivals to Kota Kinabalu
Currently, Kota Kinabalu International Airport is the second busiest gateway in the country, with direct flights to neighbouring countries in the Asia Pacific region that are within a two to four hour range – such as South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Macau, Hong Kong and China (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Fuzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Changsha).
According to the Sabah Tourism Board, the number of visitors in the first half of 2019 reached 2,016,680, an increase of 6.6% over the same period in 2018, accounting for some RM4.3 billion in foreign exchange income. Among them, foreign tourists totalled 707,947, a 4.4% rise year-on-year, with visitors from China being the largest contributor, jumping 5.6% to 316,887. This is followed by tourists from South Korea, Brunei and Taiwan. According to the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority, Sabah has the highest tourist spending of all states, averaging at around RM1,760 each.
Sabah receives RM5.2 billion from Federal Government for the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) project
Excitingly, Sabah will receive RM5.2 billion from the 2020 National Budget to establish the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) – the largest allocation among all states in Malaysia. This underscores the Federal Government’s priority to further develop Sabah, particularly in economic activities such as tourism, logistics, manufacturing and agriculture. At the same time, the Sabah State Government will implement a slew of policies aimed at attracting more investments from the private sector.
In addition, the government has also planned to invest in infrastructure construction, the most notable of which is the 706-kilometre Pan Borneo Highway. According to the latest report from the Ministry of Works, 22% of the project has been completed and is expected to be completed by June 2023.
Sabah’s State Development Vision 2025
The State Development Vision 2025, which focuses mainly on regional trade, investments and tourism, aims to increase national productivity to RM63.2 billion, average income per citizen to RM14, 800 and the number of job opportunities to 900,000. Sabah expects to receive RM48.5 billion in revenue from its tourism industry and RM17 billion in domestic productivity from its agriculture industry. The state government also hopes to transform Sabah into an internationally renowned special economic zone, integrating business investments, industries, ports and leisure and entertainment by 2025, aiming to create the most comfortable living environment in Asia.
“Malaysia My Second Home” Programme attracts foreigners to Malaysia
Launched by the Malaysian government, the “Malaysia My Second Home” Programme is open to foreigners from all countries that will be pre-qualified to stay in Malaysia for up to 10 years without visas. This plan allows them to bring their spouses, parents and children to Malaysia for retirement, business and education.
Kota Kinabalu is well positioned to attract these foreigners in the Programme, with its array of amenities such as well-known international schools like Sayfol International School and Kinabalu International School as well as comprehensive medical facilities such Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu and KPJ Specialist Hospital.
Kota Kinabalu’s property market is rising; high-end housing prices are growing steadily
The property market in Kota Kinabalu has been stable for years but with the dynamic development of tourism and the boom in retail development, it has further attracted international tourists and investors. Sabah’s appeal to investors lies in its ease of arranging mortgage loans, a low interest rate environment, low cost of living, language accessibility, tolerant society and buoyant housing prices.
In fact, the property markets in Asia’s developing countries often seek a balance between rapid price spikes and market controls. However, in Sabah, the fusion of its unique North Borneo culture and stable economic growth trends is a huge plus for the long-term sustainability of its property market. At present, some sea-view residences, hotels, commercial buildings and retail malls in the state are booming and expanding.
Coral Bay @ Sutera has great potential and is the most anticipated waterfront development
Developed by Singapore-listed GSH Corporation Limited, Coral Bay @ Sutera is strategically located along Kota Kinabalu’s most prestigious waterfront. Designed by Singapore’s Swan & Maclaren, its unique design is inspired by nature’s coral reefs.
Coral Bay is Sabah’s premier private luxury apartments located within the high-quality environment and facilities of Sutera Harbour Resort. It is adjacent to the resort’s luxury five-star hotels, The Pacific Sutera Hotel and The Magellan Sutera Resort, also within the resort is a 104-berth marina and the only day and night championship golf course in the city.
This project is low-density with only 460 luxury apartment units. It only takes 15 minutes by car to Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and 10 minutes to downtown and the central business district. It is surrounded by five famous islands and offers a breath-taking 360-degree view of the South China Sea and the mountains surrounding Mount Kinabalu – the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, towering at 4,095 metres.
Coral Bay is an international high-end project that integrates sea-front living, luxury spaces and all the conveniences of city living. This unique development plays an important and integral part in enhancing the high-quality living and lifestyle standards in Kota Kinabalu, in tandem with the ongoing, progressive development of Sabah and its capital city to become one of most liveable places in the world.
About the writer:
Ronald Pua (MBA) is Malaysia’s Real Estate Promoting Ambassador. He is a sought-after speaker of investment opportunities in Malaysia, having spoken at more than 300 events in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Macau and Vietnam.