ECER’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION EFFORTS WIN GLOBAL RECOGNITION
Government’s socio-economic transformation programme acknowledged for delivering positive results in uplifting Rakyat’s income and living standard

 DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, 25 APRIL 2017: The Government’s socio-economic transformation agenda for the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), which is implemented through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), has garnered international recognition when it won the Global Good Governance (3G) Awards for Best Economic Transformation Programme 2017 last night in a ceremony held in Dubai.

Under the Best Economic Transformation Programme category, ECERDC was nominated together with three other economic transformation programmes around the world specifically One Belt One Road (OBOR) from China, The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and The Transforming Kenya from Kenya.

The prestigious award, which was presented  in a ceremony held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), was a recognition of the Malaysian Government’s success in accelerating socio-economic transformation in the ECER through the delivery of high-impact projects and programmes to boost private and public investments with the ultimate aim of empowering communities and uplifting the lives of the people across the region.

Anchored on Malaysia’s new economic model, which gives equal emphasis to both “capital economy” and “people economy”, the success of the ECER’s transformation programme was clearly showcased when the Region created more than 140,000 new jobs for the people following ECER’s achievement in attracting RM102 billion worth of private investments as at March 2017, which is 92% of its RM110 billion investment target for 2020. The investments opened up job opportunities for skilled workers as well as technical and management roles, reflecting the growing opportunities for local talents to obtain better high-income jobs.

Working in partnership with the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor and key Federal and state agencies, ECERDC’s holistic and inclusive human capital development programmes, in line with national aspirations, have trained a new generation of skilled workers and entrepreneurs; majority of whom are from disadvantaged communities in the rural areas to meet this new demand. To date, 41,000 students from poor families have benefitted from the Academic Training programmes, recording markedly improved academic results. At the same time, more than 24,000 entrepreneurs were created and developed through ECERDC’s entrepreneur development and investments efforts, and they in turn accelerated the socio-economic growth in their local communities by creating more than 31,000 job opportunities.

Since the rollout of the ECER’s projects and programmes, 655,000 people from all socio-economic backgrounds have benefitted and of this total, 97% are from the B40 group including some 17,500 Orang Asli beneficiaries.

“The East Coast Economic Region of Malaysia is transforming the socio-economic landscape of the region via the delivery of strategic infrastructure projects through public and private investment initiatives, together with inclusive and holistic human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes. ECER’s inclusive and sustainable socio-economic transformation initiatives have helped the Region to grow faster than projected and have uplifted the livelihood and well-being of the people. This Award is testament to the collective efforts of stakeholders under the leadership of Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, in driving the transformation agenda of the country,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC.

“One of the biggest challenges faced by the Rakyat across the ECER before the implementation of the National Transformation Programme was that they lacked access to guidance, support and opportunities. As such, ECERDC has implemented human capital development programmes for the local community such as empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER in an inclusive and holistic manner to ensure the people are fully behind the nation’s journey to become a developed country by 2020. The programmes, which targets the B40 income group, are in line the Government’s commitment to bridge the economic divide and regional imbalance in the country,” added Datuk Seri Issace.

Transformation is an ongoing process. The government is committed in implementing high-impact infrastructure projects which will further reinforce the ECER as the investment destination of choice in the Asia-Pacific region. These include two game changer projects – the expansion of Kuantan Port which is the gateway to Asia Pacific and the 600km East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) which will further boost connectivity and stimulate private investments.

The ECRL is expected to contribute an additional 1 to 1.5% gross domestic product to ECER’s growth and further spur the local economy even in smaller towns across ECER and promote greater mobility of goods and people. The towns along this rail corridor will be the new growth focus and stand to benefit from the spillover effect. The towns include Bentong, Mentakab, Maran, Gambang, Kota SAS, Kuantan Port City and Cherating in Pahang; Chukai, Kemasik, Dungun, Pengkalan Berangan, Kuala Terengganu and Penarik, Kampung Raja in Terengganu; Tok Bali, Jelawat, Kota Bharu, Wakaf Bharu and Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan.

The 3G Awards which is founded by Cambridge IF Analytica, a UK-based organisation, are presented to governments, corporates and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for excellence in transparency, good governance and social responsibility. The winners of the Award were selected through a global poll and a jury of eminent personalities drawn from the government, industry and academia.