PETALING JAYA: Kota Belud is set to undergo a transformation from a quiet northern town to a modern and bustling urban centre through a new information and communication technology driven satellite township initiated by Qhazanah Sabah Bhd (QSB).

The Sabah state government’s strategic investment arm is teaming up Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) to develop the Bandar Digital Tun Said township located about 5km from Kota Belud town.

The two companies inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the project on Friday witnessed by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jaffry Ariffin.

In his remarks at the event, Jaffry said the Bandar Digital Tun Said township was not only a catalyst in stimulating economic growth in Sabah’s northern region but also enhancing Kota Belud’s position as a tourism town and in line with the Bira-Biraan Smart City project.

“Kota Belud is in need of a stimulus,” Jaffry said in describing the town as quiet in terms of activities and comparatively limited in development.

He said Kota Belud was becoming a district with an ageing population as youths there sought opportunities in Kota Kinabalu and elsewhere.

“More job opportunities can be provided via the upgrade of infrastructure and amenities. One way or the other, we can take the opportunity from this development to explore tourism expansion and prevent mass migration from the district to other, particularly amongst youth,” Jaffry said in adding that Bandar Digital Tun Said would stem and reverse this outflow of Kota Belud young talents by creating numerous business opportunities and jobs.

“As a self-sustainable urban centre, this township will be a catalyst in promoting growth via its adaptive features that cater to the needs of future generations,” he added.

Apart from being a commercial and residential development, Bandar Digital Tun Said would also provide housing for Kota Belud civil servants who were currently occupying dilapidated government quarters.

Under the MoU, QSB’s role is to facilitate and participate in the investment via the land acquisition administrative matters while BLand will play a role as the developer of which scope will include preparing the development plan, design, planning and construction of the township.

At the MoU signing, QSB was represented by its executive director Mohd Shukor Abdul Mumin and witnessed by the company’s Secretary Rudy Jaglul. Signing on behalf of BLand was its chairman Tun Richard Malanjum and Berjaya Corp Bhd chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun acting as a witness. BLand is a subsidiary of BCorp.

“As a leading property developer, BLand has been delivering innovative development projects in Malaysia as well as abroad. BLand is honoured to be a part of this initiative and contribute towards the economic and social development of Kota Belud. We are grateful for the trust that QSB has placed in us to deliver this project,” said Tan.

Also present were QSB chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Said Keruak, QSB group CEO Ahmad Rizal Dahli, BLand CEO Syed Ali Shahul Hameed and Berjaya EnviroParks Sdn Bhd senior general manager Koh Chee Yong.