PUTRAJAYA, 25 APRIL 2014: Prime Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak today handed over five landmark Environmental Management Plans for the sustainable development of the national and state parks in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) to the State Governments of Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor.

The said plans are for the future conservation, preservation and development of Taman Negara which straddles across Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan; Taman Negara Endau-Rompin which spans across Pahang and Johor, Tasik Chini in Pahang which is also Malaysia’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Setiu Wetlands in Terengganu, and Lojing Highlands in Kelantan, respectively.

Dato’ Sri Najib, who is also the Chairman of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), handed over the documents to the Menteri Besar of Pahang, Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Diraja Haji Adnan bin Haji Yaakob, Menteri Besar of Terengganu, Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Ahmad bin Said, Menteri Besar of Kelantan, Y.A.B. Ustaz Dato’ Haji Ahmad bin Yakob and Menteri Besar of Johor, Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled bin Nordin.

The event was the highlight of ECER’s 1st Quarter Update for 2014, held today at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.

ECER is home to Taman Negara, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest estimated to be more than 130 million years old, and the Region also has some of the world’s finest specimens of rainforest biodiversity. In its quest for socioeconomic transformation, it is paramount for ECER to ensure that the sustainability of its environment and natural assets is not compromised.

“I am very pleased with the support and commitment given by the ECER State Governments for the implementation of a common park management model for the State Parks across the Region, which will help ensure the sustainability of ECER’s unique natural assets in a more holistic manner,” the Prime Minister said.

The Environmental Management Plans are the outcome of studies commissioned in 2013 by ECERDC for balanced development, ensuring that socioeconomic development projects are guided by environmental considerations. The documents outline management plans to spearhead the preservation and conservation of these national and state parks.

ECER has attracted RM63.58 billion worth of investments since 2007 until the first quarter of this year, thus surpassing more than 57% of its RM110 billion investment target by 2020. These investments will create more than 65,000 jobs for the rakyat, comprising 6,601 professionals, 19,800 skilled workers and 39,599 semi-skilled workers in ECER.

The state of Pahang attracted the most investments, which stood at RM30.46 billion to date, with the potential to create (38,027 jobs). This is followed by Terengganu with RM22.77 billion in investments (16,638 jobs), followed by Kelantan with RM9.74 billion (11,121 jobs) and the district of Mersing in Johor with RM610 million of investments (211 jobs).

ECERDC today also announced RM7.54 billion worth of investments in ECER attracted in the first quarter of 2014, which include the RM2.86 billion investment by BASF PETRONAS Chemicals for its Aroma Integrated Complex in Gebeng, Kuantan and 14 new investments in the Region worth more than RM4.67 billion that were formalised today.

In addition, three potential investors for the second quarter of 2014 with combined potential investments in Terenganu worth RM9.5 billion were also present at today’s ceremony. HKS Mineral JV Hyundai Merchant Marine, with a potential investment worth RM6.6 billion, received its letter of land approval from the Menteri Besar of Terengganu at the event, while Geomegah China Steel (M) Sdn Bhd (RM2.1 billion) and Angsana Platinum Sdn Bhd (RM800 million) exchanged MOU’s with the the State Government.

Beijing Goldenway Biology Tech Co Ltd (BGB), the world’s largest bio-humic acid producer, plans to set up manufacturing plants in Pahang worth RM600 million that will produce humic acid, a type of bio-stimulant for soil reconditioning. Sg. Lembing has been identified as a potential location for its first plant in ECER. The collaboration proposal for this project was exchanged by ECERDC together with Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation Sdn Bhd (Biotech Corp) and BGB today.

The Prime Minister said the flow of investments into ECER have created a significant impact in terms of job creation for the rakyat. To accommodate the needs of the industry, and at the same time, providing the locals with the necessary skills needed to meet the investors’ requirement, ECERDC is introducing the ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) following the successful implementation of the National Talent Enhancement Programme (NTEP) in the Region.

Dato’ Sri Najib also witnessed the exchange of an MOU between ECERDC and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), where both parties will be harnessing each other’s strengths to increase the involvement of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in ECER. With the Bumiputera currently accounting for 87 per cent of ECER’s population, this collaboration will help increase the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the development and transformation of ECER, in line with the country’s Bumiputera economic empowerment agenda. ECERDC was represented by its Chief Executive 3Officer, YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John, while MARA was represented by its Director General, Datuk Ibrahim bin Ahmad.

ECERDC also exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Perbadanan Kemajuan Iktisad Negeri Kelantan (PKINK) and Mysteel Asia Star Sdn Bhd JV Kelstone (India Steel Works Sdn Bhd JVCo) for a RM2.96 billion integrated steel plant in Kelantan. The investment, to be realised over a period of five years, is expected to spur economic growth and generate entrepreneurial opportunities for more than 2,500 rakyat by 2018.

Meanwhile, in line with ECER’s move towards knowledge based economy, it has also been proposed for an ICT and Multimedia Hub to be developed in the Pahang Technology Park which will serve as a growth catalyst for the industry in the Region.