PUTRAJAYA, February 28 : The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has attracted 12 investments worth over RM9 billion in the first quarter of 2012, of which nine were announced today by Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak after the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) board meeting here today.

The nine new investments comprises two projects worth RM5.5 billion in Mersing, Johor, five projects worth RM2 billion in Pahang, one project worth RM1 billion in Terengganu and one project worth RM500 million in Kelantan, said Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak.

Earlier in January, three investments worth RM363 million have already been approved in ECER. Overall, the 12 investments are expected to create nearly 20,000 job opportunities for the local residents while contributing an estimated RM6 billion to the Gross National Income (GNI) by 2020, he said.

“The scale of these investments is an endorsement of ECER’s competitiveness in attracting investors and spurring economic growth,” said YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib, who is also the Chairman of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), at the event here today.

“This is a positive start to the year and I am confident that ECER will be able to exceed its RM10 billion investment target for 2012 on the back of progressive enhancement of infrastructure within the Region and aggressive investment promotion undertaken by ECERDC in collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI),” he added.

To date, the Government has invested some RM2 billion for infrastructure development in ECER to support private sector investments.

Commenting on the new investments that were announced today, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib said over 70 per cent of the investment amount will be in ECER’s tourism cluster while the rest will be in aquaculture, manufacturing and education sectors. All of these projects are expected to be implemented this year, he said.

“I am also proud to note that the bulk of these investments are from Malaysian companies. This proves that there is still capacity for more local companies to invest domestically,” he said

This positive development augurs well for ECER, which has already attracted RM20.9 billion in investments up until December 2011 while creating more than 27,000 job opportunities. Of this amount, RM4.7 billion investments have been received in 2011 alone.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said the new investments will enhance resource-based economic activities in ECER and help create better economic opportunities for the local populace by generating new job and entrepreneurial opportunities.