PUTRAJAYA, 16 DECEMBER 2013:The East Coast Economic Region (ECER), concludes the year 2013 strongly with RM55.8 billion in investments attracted to the Region since 2007 to date, that will create 55,000 job opportunities for the rakyat in the Region.

The RM55.8 billion investments consist of RM34.1 billion investments in the manufacturing sector (61.1%), RM9.9 billion in tourism (17.7%), RM4.3 billion in the logistics sector (7.7%), RM3 billion in infrastructure (5.4%), RM1.6 billion in oil and gas (2.9%), RM1.3 billion in real estate/properties (2.3%), RM1 billion in education (1.8%) and RM0.6 billion in agriculture (1.1%).

“This year marks the 5th year anniversary of ECER’s establishment and I am pleased to announce that ECER has already surpassed more than half of its RM110 billion investment target by 2020,” said Prime Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak here today.

Of the RM55.8 billion investments recorded in the Region to date, RM28.46 billion was achieved in 2013 alone, comprising RM11.84 billion in approved investments and RM16.62 billion in committed investments. Both figures exceeded ECER’s original targets of RM8 billion for approved investments and RM15 for committed investments in 2013 respectively.

Of the committed investments achieved in 2013, RM5.83 billion is in the state of Kelantan, RM6.94 billion in Pahang and another RM3.84 billion in Terengganu.

“All these investments have created a positive impact to the rakyat in terms of job creation and new business opportunities for our local entrepreneurs,” said Dato’ Sri Najib after chairing the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC)’s second Council Meeting for 2013 here today.

“In view of further development in the Region carried out by the Federal Government through ECERDC, we are confident that the Region is able to further attract some RM20 billion worth of committed investments in 2014, of which RM5 billion is expected to be committed by the first quarter of next year,” he said.

At today’s event, Dato’ Sri Najib also witnessed the exchange of the investment commitments in ECER by 9 investors and 3 TERAJU Facilitation Fund recipients for committed investments amounting RM10.08 billion. He also witnessed the exchange of the Collaboration Instrument between ECERDC, Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) to develop the Pahang Bio-Aromatic Park in Maran.

Dato’ Sri Najib added that ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ) will continue to become the catalyst of investments in ECER. ECER SEZ is currently witnessing the implementation of key projects such as the Kuantan Port Expansion, Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Kertih Biopolymer Park, Kuantan Integrated BioPark, Pekan Automotive Park and Gambang Halal Park, among others. The Federal Government has approved a RM6.6 billion allocation under the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plan for the implementation of 111 infrastructure, human capital development and poverty eradication projects and programmes in ECER by ECERDC.

Dato’ Sri Najib added that the ECER projects and programmes implemented by the Federal Government through ECERDC have also been successful in elevating the socio-economic status of the Bumiputera, which accounts for about 87 per cent of the total ECER population.

To date, some 7,740 Bumiputera entrepreneurs have directly benefitted from ECER projects and programmes, while 3,650 local Bumiputeras have undergone the empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme and are now earning high incomes through their newly acquired skills, either through working with employers or by operating their own business. In addition, 11,278 Bumiputera students who are participants of empower ECER Academic Training Programme have successfully achieved 100% passes in their UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations. In terms of poverty eradication, nearly 800 poor families are now enjoying higher monthly income of RM1,100 per month from RM350 per month previously, through their involvement in ECER’s Agropolitan project.

A Real Estate Trust Fund (RETF) has also been established to unlock the value of Malay reserve land in ECER. Some RM40 million has been approved under this RETF initiative to upgrade basic infrastructure and facilities in Tioman Island, the Mersing Island Archipelago and the islands of Terengganu comprising Pulau Kapas, Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian.

“The implementation of these initiatives is in line with the Government’s Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda which focuses on five main empowerment focus namely, Enabling Bumiputera Human Capital; Strengthening the Bumiputera Equity Ownership in the Corporate Sector; Strengthening Bumiputera Non-Financial Assets; Enhancing Bumiputera Entrepreneurship and Commerce; and, Strengthening the Service Delivery Ecosystem,” said Dato’ Sri Najib.

“At the same time, I am also pleased to note that the ECER projects and programmes, such as empower ECER human capital development programme, have also positively impacted other communities in the Region as they are implemented based on the principle of inclusiveness,” Dato’ Sri Najib said.

empower ECER, which consists of Academic Training Programme as well as Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme, has benefitted 22,262 local participants in total, comprising 13,537 students and 8,725 adults from various races. The programme has resulted in a marked improvement in the academic performance of student participants while adults are recording a marked increase in monthly incomes.

From 2010 to 2013, the Federal Government has allocated nearly RM200 million via ECERDC to undertake 448 strategic, infrastructure and socio-economic projects in areas formerly administered by Pahang Tenggara Development Authority (DARA) and Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Jengka (LKWJ) including traditional villages, which have benefitted 494,000 local residents.

Meanwhile, in line with its holistic approach in preserving ECER’s natural assets and heritage, a dedicated single authority agency will be established to manage Taman Negara national park which straddles across the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

“The balanced approach taken by ECERDC in implementing development projects in the region will ensure that the sustainability of ECER’s natural assets and environment are well preserved, for the benefit of our future generation,” the Prime Minister said.