Construction of Plaza IMT-GT and Development of Kampung Laut as “Kampung Warisan” to Boost Jobs and Entrepreneurial Opportunities

KOTA BHARU, 29 OCTOBER 2017: The Rakyat in Kelantan will continue to benefit from the increased socio-economic opportunities in the state following the Federal Government’s initiative through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) to implement a number of high-impact public projects particularly those that will boost local tourism, cross-border trade and the small and medium enterprises (SME) sectors.

One of the key projects include the construction of the Plaza IMT-GT (Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle) in Bukit Bunga, which is expected to commence in November 2017. Strategically located along the border area of Rantau Panjang-Sungai Golok and Pengkalan Kubor-Tak Bai, the project is expected to further boost cross-border trade, tourism and commercial industrial development in the area. Importantly, the Plaza will provide close to 100 local entrepreneurs the opportunity to promote and market their products, including to foreign buyers from neighbouring country, Thailand. The Plaza is targeted to be completed by 2019.

Meanwhile, Kampung Laut, a village by Sungai Kelantan in Tumpat, is set to undergo development as a “Kampung Warisan” beginning February 2018. The effort is part of ECERDC’s overall strategy to boost and strengthen the tourism sector in the region. Under the development, Kampung Laut’s rich local tradition and heritage will be preserved as main attractions for tourist. The project will also open up greater entrepreneurial opportunities for the villagers, as more tourists are expected to visit the area in search for Kampung Laut’s unique handicrafts and delicacies, such as wau, batik, serunding and dodol. The project is expected to be fully completed by 2020, benefitting the more than 30 entrepreneurs in the area.

“The Federal Government through ECERDC has been working closely with the State Government to implement various high-impact public projects and human capital development programmes to spur the socio-economic growth in Kelantan. These are ultimately aimed at benefitting the locals through greater access to jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. In fact, private investments and ongoing development in Kelantan have shown positive impact for the rakyat by creating more than 22,860 jobs and 6,360 entrepreneurial opportunities,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC after the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) Kelantan meeting today.

The ICC meeting was chaired by Kelantan Menteri Besar, YAB Ustaz Dato’ Haji Ahmad Bin Yakob.

Between 2007 and September 2017, Kelantan has successfully secured RM12.7 billion in domestic and foreign investments, driven mainly by the manufacturing sector which contributed 56.8%, followed by the logistics sector at 16.5% and real estate at 12.7%.

To connect investors with the local talent pool, ECERDC has also actively conducted job and entrepreneurial fairs in the ECER including Kelantan. Recently, a two-day “Karnival Kerjaya dan Keusahawanan Kelantan 2017” was held in Kota Bahru for investors to recruit local talents for their operations. More than 3,300 jobs were offered by 40 participating investors from Kelantan and the ECER, including 32 local Bumiputera companies under the TERAJU@ECER programme. In response to the positive feedback, ECERDC in partnership with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan will be organising another job and entrepreneurial fair in the district of Jeli from 17 to 19 November 2017.

Private investment is expected to grow further, leveraging on Kelantan’s potential as a regional halal hub, which in turn will generate greater economic benefits in terms of job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities. In fact, the Pasir Mas Halal Park (PMHP), one of the key industrial parks established by ECERDC, has recorded encouraging response from investors with Phase 1 fully taken up. At present, work has already begun for Phase 2 to accommodate the growing demand. PMHP is expected to attract RM611 million in private investment and create more than 4,200 job opportunities by 2020.

Among other completed projects include the Tok Bali Integrated Fisheries Park (TBIFP) in Pasir Puteh, as well as the Collection, Processing and Packaging Centre (CPPC) in Pengkalan Kubor – both of which are key in developing Kelantan as the hub for fish and marine-based activities.

Another key contributor of the job and entrepreneurial opportunities in Kelantan is the local Bumiputera entrepreneurs who have contributed 36% of the state’s total investments to date. Between 2012 and September 2017, a total of 45 companies by Bumiputera companies worth RM4.6 billion have received incentives from either ECERDC or TERAJU@ECER or both, which in turn will create 6,044 potential jobs. Meanwhile, the Dana Mudahcara TERAJU@ECER has approved RM87.3 million to 35 recipients in the state, involving investments of up to RM728.1 million, thus cementing the positive impact brought about by Bumiputera entrepreneurs to Kelantan’s economic growth.

“The Federal Government’s focus on enhancing connectivity is expected to boost investment opportunities in the state. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which has begun construction in Tunjong, will act as a game-changer to the socio-economic landscape of Kelantan as will it open up new growth centres as well as create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals. This RM600km project, connecting key industrial development areas including Tok Bali, Jelawat, Kota Bharu and Wakaf Bharu in Kelantan will enhance market competitiveness for businesses and open more career opportunities for the people of Kelantan,” said Datuk Seri Issace.

To support the need for skilled talent, ECERDC has continued to implement a wide range of human capital development programmes such as empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER in the state. These projects in total have directly and indirectly benefitted 112,320 locals in Kelantan, with the B40 group making up 97% of its participants.

Meanwhile, more than 11,834 students have benefitted from ECERDC’s empower ECER Academic Training programme, whereby 82% have managed to see improvements in their academic achievements. Meanwhile, the empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme has enabled 3,020 adult participants to increase their monthly income between RM1,000 and RM10,000 upon completing their training.

Recognising the need to support the growth of more entrepreneurs in the state, the entrepreneur ECER programme, in collaboration with SIRIM, Agrobank and Maybank has seen 1,793 participants benefitting from the programme. These entrepreneurs have successfully achieved an average monthly income between RM10,000 and RM200,000. In another development, the South Kelantan Agropolitan (SKA) Project which was introduced under the 11th Malaysia Plan to eradicate poverty, has benefitted 613 participants who have successfully managed to increase their monthly income between RM1,000 and RM1,700.

“We are working towards reviewing our current strategy for the ECER including Kelantan which will be unveiled soon. We strongly believe Kelantan is well placed to further propel its socio-economic growth as the state is strategically positioned for cross-border trade, supported by the growing tourism, logistics and trade facilitation sectors,” concluded Datuk Seri Issace.