PUTRAJAYA, August 13, 2015: The Government’s balanced emphasis on capital economy and people economy in accelerating the socio-economic transformation of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has already shown positive results, as reflected in the surge of investments and the stronger pool of human capital and entrepreneurs in the Region.
Since 2007 until June this year, ECER has successfully attracted RM78.0 billion investments from both domestic and abroad, representing 71% of ECER’s RM110 billion investment target by 2020. These investments will create 76,120 new job opportunities for the rakyat.
Sectorial-wise, the manufacturing cluster is the biggest contributor with RM44.35 billion, followed by tourism (RM13.56 billion), bio-economy (RM5.62 billion) and oil, gas and petrochemicals (RM4.80 billion).
For 2015, ECER has so far recorded RM6.3 billion in investments as of end-June, or more than half of its RM12 billion investment target for this year. The Region is well on track to achieve the set target by end-2015.
At the ECER Second Quarter 2015 Announcement of Investments held here today, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) announced 8 new investments amounting RM2.59 billion in ECER, representing 21.6 per cent of this year’s investment target. The investments will create 4,832 new job opportunities for the rakyat.
The event was held after ECERDC’s Second Council Meeting for 2015 that was chaired by Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is also ECERDC’s Chairman.
ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said one of ECER’s key achievements is that the investments in the region are well spread out throughout both urban and rural areas.
In addition to its industrial parks in the ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ), ECER has also received investment commitments in rural parts of the Region such as Gua Musang (Kelantan), Besut (Terengganu), Jengka (Pahang) and Rompin (Mersing, Johor), among others, that will create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the local communities there.
ECER’s industrial parks such as Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Pekan Automotive Park, Kertih Biopolymer Park, Kuantan Integrated Biopark, Gambang Halal Park and Pasir Mas Halal Park continue to attract investors’ interest due to their unique positioning and competitive advantage, accumulating RM24.7 billion in investment commitments to-date that will create 14,809 new job opportunities.
The Region has also attracted investments from both well-known multinationals such as BASF PETRONAS Chemicals Sdn Bhd, Kaneka Corporation, CJ CheilJedang and Arkema, among others, as well as local small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (SMEs).
To transform the Region into an investment destination of choice, the Federal Government has allocated RM6.6 billion for the implementation of high-impact projects in ECER through ECERDC under the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) and 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP). The increase in investments is also due to ECERDC’s investment promotion efforts, undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of International Trade and Industries (MITI) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).
“The public investment, which covers strategic infrastructure projects as well as human capital and entrepreneurship development initiatives, has certainly paid off. This is reflected in the increase in investment figures and our continued progress in developing local talents in ECER through programmes such as empower ECER, entrepreneur ECER, Agropolitan, ECER Talent Enhancement Programme and TERAJU@ECER,” said Datuk Seri Issace.
ECERDC’s human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes have benefitted over 48,000 locals in ECER and created more than 9,000 entrepreneurs in ECER, of whom 80 percent of them are women.  The beneficiaries include over 33,400 rural students and more than 11,600 adults under empower ECER’s Academic Training Programme as well as Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme respectively.
entrepreneur ECER programme, an entrepeneurship development initiative which is implemented in collaboration with SIRIM, Agrobank and Maybank, has benefitted over 2,000 entrepreneurs in the Region. Of the amount, 1,662 have received financial assistance via the ECERDC-Agrobank soft loan scheme, while another 395 have benefited from financial assistance offered under the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme. Another 81 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the product development and marketing programme provided under ECERDC’s collaboration with SIRIM to bring their businesses to the next level, which include exporting their products overseas.
ECERDC’s Teraju@ECER initiative is tailored to address the Government’s Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda. Since its launch in 2012, it has benefitted 147 Bumiputera companies in ECER, comprising 92 Syarikat Bumiputera Berprestasi Tinggi (TeraS) who were given business guidance and consultation to expand their business, while 55 Bumiputera companies with investments worth RM1.08 billion were awarded with TERAJU Facilitation Fund amounting RM136.6 million.
Aimed at addressing unemployment among local graduates, the ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) targets diploma holders and above, whereby graduates in technical and business management-related disciplines are provided on-the-job training as part of talent development. To date, 164 technical graduates who had attended this programme that was held in collaboration with DRB-HICOM and Kaneka in Pahang are now successfully employed by the respective companies upon completing their training, earning an average of RM3,000 monthly.  Another 190 participants are currently undergoing the programme at both companies since February this year. Nine (9) companies have already been identified for ETEP this year, with 721 more participants expected to be involved in this programme in 2015.