High-Impact Projects and Programmes in Tok Bali to Spur Investment Growth, Jobs and Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Rakyat

PASIR PUTEH, KELANTAN, 27 JANUARY 2018: Capitalising on the strong foundation built over the last decade, Kelantan’s economic growth is expected to grow in the coming years including in district of Pasir Puteh particularly in Tok Bali, driven by the high-impact developments that are currently being implemented by the Federal Government through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) in partnership with the State Government, bringing about more jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the Rakyat.

Towards this end, amongst some of the catalytic projects that would boost Kelantan’s investment include the development of Tok Bali Port. Given its strategic location, the Port has been identified as a “Regional Distribution Hub” for the movement of goods from cross-border trade with Southern Thailand and Indochina, serving as a feeder port to Kuantan Port and a regional port to Indochina. Meanwhile, the Tok Bali Integrated Fisheries Park (TBIFP) is expected to propel Tok Bali as a main fisheries hub for both local and export markets, reinforcing the district’s potential to draw private investments in the primary processing of fish-based products, otoshimi, fishmeal and supporting industries such as ice-making factories, with the integration of marine eco-tourism and hospitality sector.

The development Tok Bali Industrial Park (TBIP) on the other hand is expected to begin in 2018 to cater to the growing number of local entrepreneurs through the development of ready-built small and medium enterprise (SME) lots and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) hubs. This will also cater to the anticipated growth in private investments in the region particularly in the manufacturing, agribusiness as well as oil and gas sectors.

Meanwhile, the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project which is expected to have the largest station in Kelantan in Tok Bali to serve both cargo and passengers, will significantly enhance the mobility of good and peoples and spur greater transit-oriented development in the district, opening up more job and entrepreneurial opportunities for the Rakyat.

“The high-impact projects and programmes implemented by the Federal Government through ECERDC in partnership with the State Government and strategic partners have enabled Kelantan to grow tremendously within the decade, which have provided immense opportunities to the Rakyat to uplift their livelihood,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC.

“In line with Kelantan’s strong investment growth, the Government has also continued to provide opportunities for the Rakyat to upskill themselves, with the ultimate aim of preparing the local population for more jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. In this regard, we are excited to launch the empower ECER programme in Pasir Puteh today, in ensuring all segments of society are able to benefit from the ongoing socio-economic transformation in ECER,” he added.

Earlier today, Yang Berhormat Senator Dato’ Dr. Asyraf Wajdi Dato’ Dusuki, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had launched the empower ECER programme in Pasir Puteh. The launch marks the implementation of the programme across all 10 districts in Kelantan, thereby enabling all locals the chance to participate in the inclusive initiative.

During the launch which was attended by around 1,500 people, Dato’ Dr. Asyraf handed out certificates to the seven schools which have been selected to join the empower ECER Academic Training programme for the first time this year. Through this initiative, a total of 300 underperforming students from the B40 families in Pasir Puteh will attend free tuition, motivational and leadership sessions, which have commenced since January 2018. These are aimed at ensuring they can obtain better results and excellence in their national examinations namely PPSR, PT3 and SPM this year.

Furthermore, a total number of 200 adults and youths, largely from the B40 category, are expected to be selected as the first batch of participants for the empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme by March 2018. They will be able to benefit from the free vocational and technical classes including bakery and culinary, sewing, as well as air-conditioning repair and servicing for vehicles, as a platform to improve their income levels by becoming entrepreneurs or obtaining better jobs upon completion of their course.

In Kelantan, the empower ECER programme has successfully reached out to more than 15,600 Rakyat. This includes 11,800 students and 1,100 Orang Asli participants through its Academic Training Programme. On the other hand, the Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme has benefited 3,800 participants of which 90% of them have successfully embarked on their entrepreneurship journey, earning an income of between RM1,000 and RM10,000 a month. More importantly, they have helped to open up job opportunities to more than 3,000 locals.

“The launch of empower ECER in Pasir Puteh is a testimony of our commitment to expand and enhance our human capital development programmes in Kelantan. Recognising that entrepreneurial activities have been the main driving force of Kelantan’s socio-economic growth, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has also amplified efforts to encourage the development of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs including those in involved in the halal businesses,” said Datuk Seri Issace.

For instance, under the entrepreneur ECERSIRIM programme, four participants have been given guidance and training on product quality, labelling and branding, halal certification, financial management and marketing. In addition, as funding and capital are key factors in helping entrepreneurs get off the ground, entrepreneur ECERAgrobank has assisted 168 participants with business guidance as well as access to financing.

Amongst the local companies who have benefitted include Syarikat ZS Maju Products. “The mentoring and training received via the entrepreneur ECER-SIRIM programme has not only given us access to two central pillars of the entrepreneurial ecosystem – funding and market entry, but also insights on how we can create a sustainable business in the very competitive halal market,” said Puan Zainon Binti Salleh, founder of Syarikat ZS Maju Product and also a recipient of the Anugerah Khas Usahawan Bertransformasi (Halal) entrepreneur ECER. Since participating in the programme, the company has successfully expanded its business and supply its halal food products to supermarkets all over Malaysia. The company was also selected to join Halal Expo in Singapore twice in the last two years.

Meanwhile, three Bumiputera companies which have benefitted from Dana Mudahcara TERAJU@ECER programme namely Tok Bali Dockyard & Engineering Sdn. Bhd., Terasalana Sdn. Bhd. and Al Builders Sdn. Bhd. were given certificate of recognition for their contribution towards the local economy in Kelantan, which have generated job and entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals.

Between 2007 and 2017, the Bumiputera companies in Kelantan have contributed significantly to the state’s economic performance. Of the total private investments in Kelantan at RM11.8 billion, The Bumiputera investors have contributed RM5.03 billion or more than 42% of the total private investments in Kelantan, creating more than 6,100 job opportunities for the locals. This reflects the impact of ECER’s inclusive efforts in elevating the Bumiputera community as an important contributor towards the economic development in Kelantan, in line with the Government’s aspiration under the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda.

Dato’ Dr Asyraf also presented mock cheque to Highplus Engineering Sdn. Bhd., for the development of the Institute Skill Centre at Tok Bali for the training of graduates under the ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) to match them with potential employers. Thus far, 20 local graduates have benefitted whereby they have been hired by either Highplus Engineering or other local companies in Kelantan.

Another key focus at the event is the recognition of micro-entrepreneurs who have seized the growing opportunities in ECER to uplift their livelihood. Following the growth of The Holstein Milk Company at ECER’s Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre, 31 locals in Kelantan have become Home Dealers to market Farm Fresh dairy products. Three of the home dealers from Pasir Puteh who are earning up to RM3,000 a month, received certificates presented by Dato’ Dr Asyraf, in recognition of their dedication to their business and as an inspiration for other micro-entrepreneurs.

“Over the last decade, the ECER has experienced tremendous socioeconomic growth. To celebrate ECER’s 10th Anniversary this year, we will continue to roll out and expand the various high-impact projects and socioeconomic transformation programmes in partnership with the State Governments and strategic partners to further strengthen ECER’s positioning as a Distinctive, Dynamic and Competitive region, with its vibrant socio-economic landscape for the benefit of the Rakyat,”