KUALA LUMPUR, May 6: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) will embark on an investment mission to the Middle East from May 7 to 17 to attract investors from the Gulf region to the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), as well as to enhance bilateral business relationship between Malaysia and the Middle East countries.
Led by Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister and National Corridor Development Adviser, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi, the mission will take place in the cities of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. It will be participated by officials from ECERDC, ECER State Governments and Halal Development Corporation, and is undertaken via collaboration with Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and the Malaysian embassies in UAE and Saudi Arabia.
During the investment mission, ECERDC will be conducting a series of business meetings with identified potential investors from the Gulf region, including the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Emirates Investment Authority and Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others.
“With so many different regional corridors and Special Economic Zones being developed all over the world, it is imperative for us to distinguish ECER from the rest,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.
In this regard, ECER Malaysia offers an integrated package to investors from the Gulf Region, which include attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, abundant natural resources, good infrastructure and ready supply of human capital, plus, competitive cost of doing business as compared with the West Coast of Malaysia, among others, he said.
In 2008, UAE was Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia coming in second.
Dato’ Issace said the key to future development in ECER still depends largely on private investments, which is why for 2010, ECERDC is making the strategic move of aggressively promoting ECER as the choice investment destination among global investors.
ECERDC aims to attract RM30 billion worth of investments in the region under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
In this regard, the region offers attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that are specially tailored to investors who are venturing into the respective ECER clusters namely Tourism, Oil, Gas & Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Education, Dato’ Issace said.
Two core incentives that apply to all projects are income tax exemption and investment tax allowance (ITA). Customised incentives are also available, based on merit for each case.
Investors in ECER may also enjoy attractive non-fiscal incentives offered. They include premium land prices, flexibility in employment of expatriates, preferential tariffs for utilities, the granting of ECER status to eligible companies and provision of grants to viable projects, among others.
“On our part, ECERDC will act as the one-stop centre to fast track investment applications and approvals, in collaboration with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and MIDA. We also provide counseling and advisory services to assist investors who would like to take part in the development of ECER Malaysia,” he said.
ECERDC has already identified several key ECER projects from our main economic clusters to be promoted to Middle East investors. For tourism, the projects include Pantai Sepat Mainland Coastal Tourism and Cherating Mainland Coastal Tourism in Pahang, as well as Teluk Bidara Mainland Coastal Tourism in Terengganu.
In the oil, gas and petrochemical sector, the key projects to be promoted are the Kertih Polymer Park and Petronas Petroleum Industry Complex (PPIC) in Terengganu, as well as Gebeng Integrated Petrochemical Complex (GIPC) in Pahang.
Another key project that will be promoted is Tanjung Agas Oil and Gas and Maritime Industrial Park, located south of Kuantan Port. This park will act as a modern one-stop service centre and offshore base that will serve and support the region’s upstream and downstream oil and gas exploration and production activities.
For manufacturing, the key projects are the Pekan-Peramu Automotive Industrial Park, Gambang Halal Park and Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in Pahang, as well as Pasir Mas Halal Park in Kelantan.
Key agriculture projects consist of the Poultry Production Park as well as Herbal and Biotechnology Park (in Kelantan and Pahang), Livestock Production (Terengganu and Pahang), as well as Rompin Integrated Pineapple Plantation (Pahang).
For the education and ICT sector, the main projects to be promoted this year would be the Knowledge Park, the International Digital Business Exchange (IDBX) and the Global Animation Centre, all in Terengganu.
The CEO added a key area for investment is the halal business, which is one of the world’s fastest growing markets.
These halal products consist of both food and non-food items such as cosmetics, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, medical products, attire and accessories, he said.
Currently the global halal market is worth about US$2.1 trillion per year, with the Gulf Cooperation Council importing nearly US$44 billion worth of halal products per year.
Meanwhile, ECERDC will undertake a more focused approach this year in terms of project implementation in the region. Emphasis will be given in ECER Key Development Areas (KDA) located within six Focus Nodes namely the ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ), Tok Bali-Besut-Kota Bharu-Tumpat Cross Boder Development, Kuala Terengganu City Centre-Kenyir-Dungun Triangle, Mersing-Rompin KDA, Gua Musang-Kuala Lipis KDA and Bentong-Raub KDA.