KELANTAN BENEFITS FROM ECER TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS
State attracts RM12.2 billion in investments; Over 10,000 Kelantanese benefit from ECER’S Human Capital & Entrepreneur Development Programmes

KOTA BHARU, 8 NOVEMBER: The state of Kelantan and its people have benefitted from the various projects and programmes undertaken by the Federal Government through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), as reflected in the surge of investments in the state, as well as the creation of new job and business opportunities for the locals.

The Federal Government via ECERDC approved an allocation of RM688 million for the implementation of 31 high-impact projects and programmes in Kelantan under the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plan, as part of its effort to transform the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) to a developed region by 2020.

“Since the establishment of ECER in 2007 until September this year, Kelantan has attracted RM12.2 billion worth of private investments, or 14.7 per cent of the total cumulative investments in ECER to date, that will create 12,555 new jobs for the locals,” said Kelantan Menteri Besar, YAB Dato’ Ustaz Haji Ahmad Bin Yakob.

He was speaking at a press conference after chairing the 3rd Implementation and Coordination Committee of the East Coast Economic Region (ICC ECER) of Kelantan meeting for 2015 here today. Also present at the press conference was ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YAB Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John.

“The investments received in Kelantan have been successful in creating jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals and contributed towards Kelantan’s socio-economy development in particular, and ECER generally. The results reflect ECER’s capital economy and people economy focus that is inclusive and sustainable,” he said.

The manufacturing sector is the biggest contributor in Kelantan accounting for 55.9 per cent, followed by logistics (16.4 per cent), tourism (10.6 per cent) and property (9.8 per cent).

Among the investments that have already been realised in Kelantan since 2007 are two projects worth RM1.2 billion each for the construction of an integrated cement plant at Gua Musang by ASN Cement Industries Sdn Bhd (400 job opportunities) and Biz Markz Cement Industries Sdn Bhd (115 job opportunities). In addition, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) invested RM125.46 million for the expansion and refurbishment of Hotel Perdana in Kota Bharu.

Kelantan also received an investment commitment of RM200 million from Tok Bali Supply Base (TBSB) Sdn Bhd that operates a supply base in Tok Bali, and will create 350 new job opportunities for the locals. For 2015 alone, Kelantan attracted RM729.4 million in investments.

Meanwhile, ECERDC’s human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes such as empower ECER, entrepreneur ECER, ECER Talent Enhancement Program (ETEP), TERAJU@ECER, and the South Kelantan Agropolitan (SKA) poverty eradication scheme, have benefitted more than 10,000 locals who are now enjoying higher income and improved academic performance among the participants.

“These achievements are realised through projects and programmes implemented by the Federal Government through ECERDC in close cooperation with the State Government,” said Ustaz Dato’ Haji Ahmad.

He added that the implementation of programmes and projects in Kelantan are based on the capital economy and people economy approach, to ensure that the prosperity created by ECER’s transformation initiatives are also enjoyed by the local population through equitable distribution of wealth.

Meanwhile, ECER’s human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes will ensure the availability of skilled talent in ECER who are able to meet the needs and requirements of investors, as well as a strong pool of local entrepreneurs who are able to provide support to the business ecosystem in the region.

empower ECER is a human capital development programme undertaken by ECERDC that aims to enhance and empower rural communities in ECER through academic and entrepreneurial skills training . The programme is part of ECERDC’s efforts to narrow the regional imbalances and address rural poverty and the bottom 40% of the population (B40), in line with the Government’s inclusive approach towards becoming a high-income nation.

In Kelantan, empower ECER is currently implemented in Jeli, Bachok and Ketereh. The empower ECER Academic Skills Training Programme has benefitted 6,740 students in the state, who have seen improved academic results after completing the programme.

Meanwhile, empower ECER’s Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme which is designed primarily for the unemployed, low-income working adults and single mothers with the aim of providing them with adequate skills training and entrepreneurship development knowledge has enhanced their marketability and employability.

For adult participants, it is estimated that up to 80% of participants will gain employment after completing their courses or have sufficient knowledge and practical experience to start their own business. In Kelantan, 2,220 participants have benefitted from this programme, who are now enjoying an additional income of between RM500 and RM1,500 a month, or even more.

The entrepreneur ECER programme, an entrepreneurship development initiative which is implemented in collaboration with SIRIM, Agrobank and Maybank, has benefitted more than 2,000 entrepreneurs in ECER, of whom 617 are from Kelantan.

Of the total number, 509 Kelantan entrepreneurs have received financial assistance through the ECERDC-Agrobank soft loan scheme as of September this year, while another 55 have benefitted from financial assistance offered under the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme. Another 53 entrepreneurs also benefitted from the product development and marketing programme provided under ECERDC’s collaboration with SIRIM to raise their business to the next level, including exporting their products overseas.

In its effort to assist local entrepreneurs to penetrate the international market, ECERDC recently brought six entrepreneur ECER participants, including four from Kelantan to the 12th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2015 that took place in Nanning, China from 18 to 21 September 2015 to showcase their halal products at the event. The companies from Kelantan included Mitra Food Industries Sdn Bhd and MH Mohd Food Industries Sdn Bhd.

ECERDC’s Teraju@ECER initiative is tailored to address the Government’s Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda. Since its launch in 2012 up to September this year, it has benefitted 147 Bumiputera companies in ECER, including 38 companies from Kelantan. They consist of 16 Syarikat Bumiputera Berprestasi Tinggi (TeraS) who were provided with business guidance and consultation to expand their business, and 22 Bumiputera companies with investments worth RM436.5 million, who were given TERAJU Facilitation Fund worth RM49.3 million as of end September 2015.

Among the TERAJU companies are AUEI Teras Holdings Sdn Bhd, Menara One Resources Sdn Bhd, Atira Development (M) Sdn Bhd, Rushdan Yusoff Properties Sdn. Bhd, Bumi Technopreneur Sdn Bhd and Komitmen Mantap Sdn Bhd.

The ETEP Programme will commence in Kelantan in December 2015 with the participation of almost 300 participants. ETEP involves partnerships between investors in ECER and ECERDC, where the graduates are given training in the workplace, followed by job placements by investors.

As part of its efforts to eradicate poverty in the region, ECERDC launched the South Kelantan Agropolitan (SKA) project in 2009, which involves the participation of 625 participants and their families who mostly come from poor background. Oil palm planting is the primary economic activity for SKA, which is supplemented through the cultivation of cocoa, bananas, sugar cane and lemon grass in home compound as a secondary source of income. The SKA participants are now earning an average income of RM 1,700 per month and they are now living in modern houses built by ECERDC, complete with community facilities such as a multipurpose hall, kindergarten, surau and shop lots.