PAHANG, 25 FEBRUARY 2020: The Federal Government through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), is committed to revitalise Pahang’s socio-economic development with projects in the agricultural and tourism sectors to attract new investments into the State, whilst human capital development will remain a priority to reduce unemployment, prevent future poor and boost long-term economic growth.
“ECERDC is working closely with the Federal and Pahang state government agencies to attract investments into key sectors to spur economic revitalisation. We are taking a multi-pronged approach to enable investment growth as well as developing tourism attractions and spearheading human capital development to nurture industry-ready local talents. Through these on-going efforts, we seek to create new job and entrepreneurship opportunities for the rakyat in Pahang,” said Encik Baidzawi Che Mat, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC at the ECER Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) Pahang held today.
ECERDC targets to attract RM5.1 billion in committed investments in Pahang in 2021. To achieve this target, ECERDC will continue to intensify investment promotion activities to realise investment and attract new investments to the State, especially in the services and manufacturing sector. This include close collaboration with Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA – including overseas office), chambers of commerce and other channel partners.
ECERDC will also continue to promote key industrial parks in Pahang such as Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Pekan Automotive Park (PAP), Pahang Technology Park and Gambang Halal Park to investors.
The state’s established ecosystems, resources and infrastructure makes it a competitive manufacturing destination. The Pahang state government has established “Kawasan Khas Daerah Gebeng Kecil” to facilitate investment and ease of doing business. Further, the Gebeng Investment Facilitation Centre (GIFC) has been established by ECERDC with the state government to enable speedy realisation of investment into Pahang.
Agriculture is a key development focus in Pahang, with the availability of vast agricultural land to support the nation’s food security goals. To further drive the development of agriculture, ECERDC has identified and is working closely with private investors to develop the dairy industry in Pahang Barat and replicate the success in Muadzam Shah. This project will contribute towards fulfilling the country’s demand for fresh milk and meat as well as provide jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the locals such as breeders and agropreneurs.
To date, several grazing sites in the State has been identified and ECERDC is working closely with the State Government and relevant stakeholders to ensure the smooth planning and implementation of the dairy valley project.
LOGISTICS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The development of strategic infrastructure projects such as the Central Spine Road (CSR), where the stretch from Kota Bharu to Bentong is expected to be ready in 2025, will play a
pivotal role in the overall economic development across Pahang and ECER as it will open up the rural hinterland for further economic growth.
Other infrastructure projects which will be implemented is the construction of pipeline for water supply from Kemaman, Terengganu to Gebeng which will begin in June 2021. This project is expected to facilitate further investments into the Gebeng area.. An additional advantage for investors in Pahang is the geographical advantages of Kuantan Port which makes it the ideal gateway to ASEAN and Asia-Pacific markets, which will further spur international trade as well as investments into the state.
The tourism sector will remain a key economic driver that will spur socio-economic growth in Pahang and propel ECER’s tourism forward. Though significantly impacted by the pandemic and travel restrictions, ECERDC will continue to develop tourist attractions to boost domestic tourism and ensure sustainable development of the sector.
The recently officiated Menara Kuantan 188 which is now open to public, will help spur urban tourism in Kuantan and surrounding areas. The relaxing of travel restriction in Conditional Movement Control Areas by the government will hopefully encourage locals to visit and enjoy nearby attractions as this will help to revive the domestic tourism industry that was badly affected by the restrictions that were put in place because of the pandemic.
Apart from urban tourism, there is vast potential waiting to be tapped in the eco-tourism and heritage tourism sectors. Some of ECERDC’s key tourism projects in Pahang include
sustainable island development in Tioman Island and upgrading of Cherating Turtle Conservation and Information Centre which will appeal to eco-tourists, and the upgrading of
heritage buildings in Kuala Lipis which will enhance the arts, culture and heritage tourism in Pahang Barat.
HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT
Human capital development in Pahang remains a key priority and will be instrumental in helping the rakyat adapt and survive the new economic realities brought about by the pandemic. ECERDC’s human capital development programmes will run on two parallel tracks; preparing the rakyat with skills to take on better paying jobs in a transforming economy as well as knowledge to prevent the future poor.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ECERDC implemented PENJANA-ECERDC which comprises the extended ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) to support the rakyat and investors in the short term. ECERDC’s Train & Place and Place & Train programmes offers technical courses, equipping participants with skills required by industries, with job placements secured before training commenced. The programmes are set to benefit a total of 5,500 participants by the first half of 2021 and to date, 1,083 participants have secured job placements from both programmes. The rest of the participants are projected to complete their training by May 2021.
ECERDC is also developing entrepreneurs through the empower ECER programme. A total of 2,378 new entrepreneurs were developed and trained in skills such as bookkeeping and digitalization and 70% of them have utilised digital platforms to increase sales. ECERDC also helped the participants formalise their business. Under the entrepreneur ECER programme, 1,729 entrepreneurs have been facilitated to scale up their business by improving production quality, packaging, branding and certification. These entrepreneurs have created more than 3,000 jobs for locals in their community.
In the longer term, ECERDC’s human capital development programmes will place emphasis on trainings that anticipate future needs such as digitalisation and IR4.0 skills. This will be crucial in enhancing their employability for jobs of the future.
ECERDC will also continue to provide training and development programmes for the Orang Asli community, especially in Pahang Barat since 40 per cent of them reside there. This year, ECERDC will be collaborating with Yayasan Pahang and MyKasih to train the Orang Asli community in Kampung Orang Asli Kuala Koyan and Kampung Orang Asli Pak Senam in Lipis on planting chili via fertigation system to improve yields. The Orang Asli children are also provided with enrichment programmes and tuition classes to assist them in their academic journey.
“ECERDC remains committed to ensure sustainable and balanced socio-economic growth for the people of Pahang. The long-term socio-economic transformation of the state will be driven through identified, high-impact development projects. Both the agriculture and tourism segments will spur private investments which will create ripple effects such as increased jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities and will be key for the economic revitalisation of Pahang,” concluded Encik Baidzawi.