: The proposed Tuaran-Kota Marudu-Kudat coastal road will bring tremendous economic transformation and development to northern Sabah, especially in the tourism and services industries, said Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri.
"A lot of benefits will come to the people in the areas concerned in terms of greater accessibility, improved travel times and job opportunities, especially in the tourism industry since Kudat is also located at the northernmost tip of Borneo."
Rahim, who is also the member of Parliament for Kudat, said the proposed coastal road would make the area, which is known for its white sandy beaches and clear sea water, more accessible to tourists, especially foreigners, who love the natural scenic attractions available in Sabah.
"More tourists would mean having more investments in hotels and more jobs," he said, adding that a number of hoteliers had been scouting around Kudat to build four-star and even five-star hotels.
The Tuaran-Kota Marudu-Kudat coastal road was recently proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he visited Kudat during the Promises Fulfilled Tour.
Najib also proposed that a Customs, Immigration and Quarantine centre be set up in Kudat since the district, which bordered Palawan Island in the southern Philippines, was a northern entry point into Sabah.
Rahim said with the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, more economic progress would be seen in the region under the auspices of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area.
He also said that the airports in Kota Kinabalu and Kudat would stand to benefit from increased economic activities and the "Asean Open Sky" policy, which would facilitate a free-market environment for commercial aviation from 2015.
Besides tourism, Rahim said, Kudat would also benefit from the increased oil exploration activities in offshore Sabah now that prospecting for oil and gas reserves in the marginal fields had become more viable against the backdrop of higher oil and gas prices.
Murphy Oil Corp, for example, was exploring for oil and gas reserves about 45 nautical miles offshore Sabah and this would also benefit local companies involved in logistics and aviation services as well as in food supplies, he said.