Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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July 21 — The launch of the Borneo International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (Bicam) here will boost the region as a leading hub for legal services, particularly international arbitration and mediation, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The centre will not only promote alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for the Borneo region but also the Nusantara and Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines – East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) regions.

“I am heartened to know that Bicam has the objective of positioning itself as a leading hub for international arbitration and mediation, serving not only the Borneo region but also the broader Nusantara and BIMP-EAGA regions.

“The establishment of Bicam signifies our commitment to fostering a conducive environment for resolving commercial disputes efficiently and cost-effectively,” he said at the launching of Bicam at the Sabah International Convention here last night.

He said this move is welcomed by the state government, which will support Bicam’s efforts through its ministries, departments and government-linked companies (GLCs).

In his speech, he also commended the efforts of Bicam chairman Tan Sri David Wong, the former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak who has been instrumental in driving the centre’s establishment.

Hajiji’s speech was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan.

He added that the council overseeing Bicam will be made up of the heads of professional bodies across the region, which will ensure a shared vision and effective governance for its operations.

Hajiji urged Bicam to emulate the achievements of renowned institutions such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), which have attracted substantial foreign direct investment (FDI).

“With the existence of Bicam, Sabah anticipates a spill-over effect where the development of this centre will stimulate growth in various industries,” said Hajiji.

Bicam, which is a pioneering centre of excellence for the provision of alternative dispute resolution services, officially opened its doors yesterday. It is the first of its kind in Borneo.

Bicam is a state-funded project but is fully independent. Council members are all from private practices.

In his speech, Wong said that to ensure Bicam’s continued growth, it would require the support of businesses, users, the legal and dispute resolution fraternity, as well as government-linked corporations.

“We also call upon the federal government’s support of Bicam through grants and amended legislation. When Sabah is flourishing, Malaysia will also flourish,” he said.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) Ramkarpal Singh said that the federal government will look into amending the Arbitration Act and statutes in the near future by engaging stakeholders but will convey the requests to the Finance Ministry for more funding.

“I think it is a reasonable request and it is something that is required now with the emergence of the Bornean capital with the relocation of the Indonesian capital.

“In the next few years, we anticipate and expect a lot of development in this region, so it is timely to have an arbitration and mediation centre in Sabah,” he said.

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