KUALA TERENGGANU, SATURDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2013: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) today organised the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Open Day With The Rakyat in Kuala Terengganu to showcase ECER’s projects and programmes implemented in the state and their impact to the rakyat since the launch of the development corridor.
Themed “Accelerating Transformation, Empowering Rakyat”, the Open Day was held in conjunction with ECER’s 5th anniversary this year. The event was officiated by the Menteri Besar of Terengganu, YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Said. Also present was ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.
ECERDC leverages on the Terengganu’s competitive advantages in oil, gas & petrochemicals, agriculture and tourism to implement strategic projects and programmes to accelerate its economic transformation. The Federal Government, via ECERDC, has approved a RM1.1 billion allocation for the implementation of 41 ECER projects and programmes in Terengganu under the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plan.
Among the key projects undertaken by ECERDC in Terengganu are Kertih Biopolymer Park, Kemaman Heavy Industries Park, Pasir Raja Herbal Bio Park, the Kuala Berang Sheep Breeding and Innovation Centre, Kuala Terengganu City Centre and Teluk Lipat Coastal Protection. It has also introduced social development programmes such as empower ECER and the ECER Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EEDP) to elevate the socio-economic status of the rakyat in the state.
In his address, the Menteri Besar, YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad said: “Since the establishment of ECER to date, Terengganu has attracted RM20.4 billion in private investments, which include those from global companies such as PETRONAS, CJ CheilJedang, Arkema, Gevo, Huntsman Tioxide and Shougang Corporation. The investments have brightened the economic prospects of the state, and created 10,850 new jobs and 800 new entrepreneurs.”
“Their impact is felt even more widely, because these investments generate spin-off businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities in construction, real estate, logistics, training and a range of professional services,” he added.
Meanwhile, ECERDC’s Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said, the ECER Open Day With The Rakyat provides an excellent avenue for ECERDC to share information on ECER projects and programmes that are currently being undertaken by the Council in Terengganu.
“It also provides a platform for the public to gather more information on how they can actively participate in the economic transformation of ECER, particularly in Terengganu, through our projects and programmes,” he added.
To ensure that no one is left behind in the new prosperity generated by ECER transformation initiatives, ECERDC has introduced various social initiatives that focus on rural development, human capital development and capability building.
empower ECER, for instance, is a very successful human capital development programme implemented by ECERDC in Kemaman and Dungun. Here, academically weak examination-year students from low income families are selected to attend remedial classes and motivation sessions to improve their academic performance in national examinations. Meanwhile, homemakers, single mothers and unemployed youths are trained to become entrepreneurs or gainfully employed. To date, empower ECER has assisted 1,200 students and 1,300 adults in Terengganu. Once marginalised, they are now a part of the mainstream, emerging as the dynamic new faces of Terengganu.
Another successful human capital development program is ECER Entrepreneur Development Program (EEDP) that grooms small scale business to move up to the next level. Launched in 2011, EEDP has upskilled 241 SME businesses in Terengganu, out of 580 in ECER.
ECERDC’s Teraju@ECER, meanwhile, identifies Bumiputera businesses with strong growth prospects for the TERAS Facilitation Fund. Since its launch in 2012, Teraju@ECER has selected 21 Terengganu-based companies from 48 ECER companies as Syarikat Bumiputera Berprestasi Tinggi (TERAS) companies or High Performing Bumiputera Companies.
Another ECERDC programme which has benefitted the local people is the Besut-Setiu Agropolitan project, a poverty eradication programme which involves the participation of 100 poor families. The participants are trained to raise Dorper sheep to earn stable and higher income, whereby they are now RM1,000 a month on average, compared to RM350 monthly before.