KUALA LUMPUR, 7 AUGUST 2017: The socio-economic transformation in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) is truly in motion, with the continuous delivery of Federal Government funded high-impact public infrastructure projects, investment promotion and human capital development programmes through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC).
The ECER is on track to achieving its year 2020 investments target of RM110 billion, following today’s successful signing of deals worth another RM9.9 billion in key sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, bio-economy and real estate. This brings the total committed private investments since 2008 to RM109.15 billion. In fact, the transformation in ECER is impacting the livelihood of the Rakyat positively, with over 140,000 jobs and 26,000 entrepreneurial opportunities created across the urban and rural areas of the Region.
Today’s event involved the Exchange of Documents between ECERDC and fourteen (14) foreign and domestic investors in ECER, including local Bumiputera companies under TERAJU@ECER. These new investments alone are expected to create additional entrepreneurial opportunities and over 4,000 jobs for the Rakyat in the ECER. The momentous occasion was witnessed by the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is also the Chairman of ECERDC, after the 2nd ECERDC Council Meeting for 2017 earlier.
Importantly, ECER’s investment growth over the last 10 years has contributed significantly to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the region, which has increased by RM9.7 billion, equivalent to 1.8% from the 3.9% GDP growth since 2007.
“ECER’s socio-economic transformation is certainly on track following the collective efforts of the Federal Government and its agencies including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), as well as the respective State Governments. Since 2008, the implementation of ECER’s high-impact projects and programmes have enabled the Region to grow in tandem with the goals of the national transformation agenda. This has brought about meaningful and positive impact to the lives of the Rakyat in particular through greater jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of the ECERDC.
“Over the years, we have also built a dynamic ecosystem in the Region whereby each investment project creates immense spill over benefits on the overall economic value chain, including businesses, entrepreneurs, workers as well as the service providers thus making the ECER’s socio-economic landscape vibrant, sustainable and resilient,” he added.
Domestic Direct Investments (DDI) form the core of the total investments in the region as they contribute a total of 52% of the total investments in the ECER compared to Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) at 48%. A large portion of these domestic investors comprise of the local small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the backbone of the local economy, especially in the rural areas.
On the Bumiputera front, six (6) local companies were involved in the exchange of documents today. They are among the 165 projects which have been facilitated through the benefits received from ECERDC’s incentives or TERAJU@ECER’s Facilitation Fund, or both. These investments which are worth RM15.6 billion, contribute 15% of the total approved investments in the ECER, in line with the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap (BETR) 2.0 to elevate the well-being of the community through greater participation in the economy. More than 18,000 new employment opportunities are expected to be created from the total Bumiputera investments.
The potential for greater investments into the Region is also driven by ECER’s strong pool of local talents and entrepreneurs. To cater to the rising demand for skilled workers for today and in the future, ECERDC’s human capital development programmes such as the empower ECER Programme aims to further enhance the skill sets of adult participants and academic performance of students in the rural areas. The entrepreneur ECER Programme on the other hand has helped 6,453 entrepreneurs to upscale their businesses.
As at June 2017, more than 106,210 households or 10% of ECER’s population, have benefited from ECERDC’s human capital development programmes, with 97% of the total participants coming from the Below 40 (B40) community, reflecting the ECERDC’s inclusive approach to developing the Region. In addition, about 18,000 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs were created from these programmes, who in turn generated more than 33,000 job opportunities for the local communities.
“To date, more than half of the total job opportunities created in the ECER include managerial, technical and supervisory roles as well as professionals. In this regard, it is imperative for us to continuously upskill the local talent pool through our education and skills enhancement programmes to cater to the human capital needs of the region,” said Datuk Seri Issace.
The ECER will continue to strengthen its integration and connectivity with the Asia-Pacific Region through the implementation of high-impact public infrastructure projects such as the Kuantan Port Expansion, the East Coast Expressway (Phase 3) and the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL). These strategic projects are expected to spur greater investments into the Region once fully completed, and result in increased GDP growth as well as greater job and entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals.
The Kuantan Port Expansion which is expected to be ready next year, will strengthen Kuantan Port’s position as the “Gateway to Asia Pacific” and contribute to the growth of port and maritime industries.
More significantly, the 600km ECRL, which will form the backbone of infrastructure for transportation would further ensure balanced and integrated socio-economic transformation even to the smaller towns across the Region. This game-changer will connect two major ports in Peninsular Malaysia; Port Klang and Kuantan Port and the improved connectivity is expected to increase an additional 1% to 1.5% of GDP to the ECER.
“In line with the national transformation agenda, ECER’s progress today has been a steadfast journey reinforced by the resilience and support of the Rakyat in driving change and transformation at the grassroots. As we gear ahead towards a new era of development for ECER, we will be reviewing the current incentives and policies in place to attract greater private investments and deliver continuing transformation for the Rakyat’s well-being,” concluded Datuk Seri Issace.