KUALA LUMPUR, 26 NOVEMBER 2015: The Federal 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.
In its effort to accelerate the transformation of ECER, the Government has allocated RM6 billion under the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) and the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) for the implementation of various high impact projects in the region through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC). All 67 projects and programmes under the 9MP have been completed, while 26 projects and programmes under the 10MP have been completed. Another 20 projects under the 10MP are currently in various stages of implementation.
The Government’s investment has certainly paid off. As at November 2015, ECER has attracted private investments totalling RM84 billion, which represents a return of 14 times on Government’s investment. The private investments accounted for 76 percent of ECER’s RM110 billion investment target by 2020, and are expected to generate 92,313 jobs for the people.
Sectorial-wise, the manufacturing cluster is the biggest contributor with RM46.3 billion, followed by the tourism cluster (RM14.1 billion), bio-economy (RM7.4 billion) and oil, gas and petro-chemicals (RM5.2 billion).
Public and Private Investments in ECER as at November 2015
ECERDC held its 3rd Council Meeting for 2015 at the Menara Parliament here today, which was chaired by the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is also the Chairman of ECERDC. Also present were ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, and other ECERDC Council Members.
“Although there were many challenges faced during the early part of 2015, ECERDC continued to intensify its efforts to attract more investments to the region through collaborations with respective State Governments as well as government agencies such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). As a result, there has been a significant increase in investments in the Region in the third and fourth quarters of 2015. For this year alone, ECER has attracted RM12.5 billion worth of investments, thus exceeding our RM12 billion investment target for 2015,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John
More importantly, there was a balanced distribution of investments in both urban and rural areas. ECERDC has also given more emphasis to attract investments into ECER’s Key Development Areas (KDA) as well as ECER industrial parks this year, he said.
Spread of Private Investments in ECER by state
Industrial parks such as the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Pekan Automotive Park, Kertih Biopolymer Park, Kuantan Integrated Biopark, Gambang Halal Park and Pasir Mas Halal Park continued to attract investors with their strategic advantages and competitiveness. Cumulatively, they have attracted RM19.54 billion in investments to date, that will create 22,377 new jobs.
In developing a people-based economy, ECERDC has implemented various human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes that have benefited more than 48,000 locals, 99% of whom belong to the Bottom 40% households (B40). The programmes include empower ECER that has benefited 33,439 students under its Academic Training Programme, and 11,695 adult participants under its Skills and Entrepreneurship Training Programme.
Implementation and impact of empower ECER programme
Meanwhile, the entrepreneur ECER programme is an entrepreneurship development programme undertaken in collaboration with SIRIM, Agrobank and Maybank, that has benefited 2,723 entrepreneurs in the region. Out of this total, 2,088 entrepreneurs have received financial assistance through the ECERDC-Agrobank soft loan scheme, while another 487 entrepreneurs obtained financial assistance under the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme. A total of 148 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the ECERDC-SIRIM collaboration that focuses on product development and marketing guidance to help participants grow their business to the next level, which include exporting their products abroad.
Implementation & impact of entrepreneur ECER programme
ECERDC’s Teraju@ECER programme is specially designed to address the Government’s Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda. Since its launch in 2012, a total of 167 Bumiputera companies in ECER have benefited from this initiative. They consist of 92 high-performing Bumiputera companies (TeraS) who has received guidance and business advisory services to expand their business, while another 75 Bumiputera companies with a total investment of RM1.49 billion were granted with the TERAJU Facilitation Fund amounting RM189.5 million.
Implementation and Impact of TERAJU@ ECER programme
The ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) addresses the issue of unemployment among local graduates, with diploma and degree holders as its target group. Under this programme, graduates in technology and industry-related fields as well business management are given on-the-job training, as part of ECERDC’s talent development efforts. To date, a total of 164 graduates who participated in ETEP, held in collaboration with DRB-HICOM and Kaneka in Pahang, have been employed by the companies after completing their training, and are earning an average income of RM3,000 per month. Since February 2015, another batch of 190 participants are undergoing training in these two companies under this programme. A total of 17 companies have been identified for ETEP this year, with 721 more participants expected to join this programme.
The Agropolitan poverty eradication project is currently being implemented in Pekan, Pahang (Batu 8, Runchang and Tanjung Batu), Besut-Setiu in Terengganu and Gua Musang in Kelantan, whereby it has benefitted 1,140 hardcore poor participants in the region. They include 415 participants and their families in the Pekan Agropolitan (including 102 Orang Asli participants in Runchang), 100 participants in Besut-Setiu Agropolitan, and 625 participants of the South Kelantan Agropolitan in Gua Musang. They are no longer living in poverty by undertaking agriculture-based economic activities under the Agropolitan programme, such as Dorper sheep rearing and oil palm plantation.
Implementation and impact of the Agropolitan programme
Moving forward to the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), ECERDC will continue to implement high-impact programmes such as empower ECER, entrepreneur ECER, ETEP and Agropolitan to improve the socio-economic status of the locals, as well as to ensure the availability and sustainability of quality human capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem in ECER, said Datuk Seri Issace.
In addition, new projects will also be implemented under the 11th Malaysia Plan, which include among others, Akuapolitan Kuala Nerus and Phase 3 of Kertih Biopolymer Park in Terengganu, the development of Tok Bali Port in Kelantan, and the development of homestay tourism in the district of Mersing, Johor.
In addition to these projects, focus will also be given on Kampung Laut tourism development and Tok Bali Industrial Park in Kelantan; the development of the Pahang Technology Park in Pahang, and the development of the Airport Waterfront Corniche Road, Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) in Terengganu. The preservation and conservation efforts of the Tasik Chini Biosphere Reserve, the first UNESCO biosphere reserve in Malaysia, will also be continued to ensure the sustainability of ECER’s environmental treasures, he added.