empower ECER TRANSFORMING THE LIVES OF THE ORANG ASLI IN SUNGAI RUAL, KELANTAN ECERDC’s Human Capital Development programmes help improve livelihood of the rakyat in the B40 group

KOTA BHARU, 13 FEBRUARY 2020: The Federal Government, through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), has implemented various initiatives and human capital development programmes to uplift the livelihood within the B40 group, including the Orang Asli community. ECERDC’s inclusive human capital development programmes, such as empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER, have proven to be effective in helping improve living standard by raising the education level and providing marketable skills via academic enrichment programmes, industry-driven up-skilling programmes and comprehensive skills training courses aimed to uplift the income-earning capability of the rakyat.

ECERDC gives special focus to the socio-economic development of the Orang Asli community. For example in Kampung Sungai Rual, Jeli, Kelantan, the empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme has uplifted the standard of living and income level of 51 Orang Asli participants. The skills courses offered, which include handicrafts, cooking and sewing are tailored for the Orang Asli’s socio-economy.

One of the participants who has become an entrepreneur is Muhamad Samsol Bin Haron, 22, from the Orang Asli community. Muhamad Samsol was helping his father tap rubber before joining the Bijak Niaga @ My Business course under the empower ECER programme. He was determined to learn new skills so that he could earn more money to support his family. With the knowledge gained, he has opened a burger stall and is now earning a steady income of more than RM2,000 a month. In recognition of his achievement in overcoming hardships and uplifting the livelihood of his family, he was awarded the “Anugerah Khas Usahawan empower ECER” at a convocation and award presentation ceremony held today to celebrate the success of the empower ECER programme participants in Kelantan.

“I am thankful to be given the opportunity to participate in the empower ECER programme which has improved my family’s livelihood. I hope to be able to inspire other people from the Orang Asli community to become start their own business,” said Muhamad Samsol.

Since the programmes were launched in Kelantan in 2013, more than 25,000 participants largely from the B40 group have benefited. In 2019 alone, 4,738 participants benefited and of this figure, 910 became entrepreneurs with the majority earning an average of RM1,000 to RM10,000 per month. They in turn created 1,496 job opportunities for the locals.

During the ceremony, 18 participants received the Anugerah Usahawan empower ECER awards, in recognition of their outstanding achievement while 32 empower ECER Academic Training participants received the Juara empower ECER award for excelling in the 2019 UPSR examination from YAB Menteri Besar Kelantan Dato’ Bentara Kanan Haji Ahmad bin Yakob.

“I wish to congratulate Samsol on his success and hope his story will further inspire other Orang Asli community to join our human capital development programme, so that they can acquire new skills and be able to earn a more sustainable income to support their family,” said Encik Baidzawi Che Mat, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC during the event which was held in conjunction with the ECER Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) Mersing meeting here, today. The meeting was chaired by YAB Menteri Besar Kelantan.

The top award, Anugerah Usahawan Gemilang empower ECER, went to Marwani Binti Abdullah. Her signature product is Mini Pizza Muslim which is now sold in Terengganu, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur, other than Kelantan. The former housewife also runs a canteen in Kuala Krai with the help of her eight employees, all of whom are single mothers. Her income now exceeds RM30,000 a month enabling her to send three of her children to further their studies at the university. 

“We are constantly inspired by the changes that we see in the lives of participants and the ripple effect their success has on their lives and their community. This is indeed encouraging and certainly motivates us to amplify our efforts to ensure that more people can benefit from our human capital development programmes,” said Encik Baidzawi.

In total, more than 100,000 rakyat in the ECER have benefited from ECERDC’s human capital development programmes, of which 70% are youth and 70% are female participants, reflecting ECERDC’s inclusive approach towards empowering the Rakyat.

Apart from empower ECER, ECERDC has implemented other human capital development programmes such as entrepreneur ECER to develop micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur ECER programme focuses on enhancing the performance of existing entrepreneurs through a collaboration with SIRIM for product development, packaging, labelling, branding, MeSTI and Halal certifications; while the collaboration with Maybank and Agrobank as strategic partners allow for soft loan financing with ECER providing (topping up) 50% of the interest rate. To date, ECERDC has developed 2,932 micro and SME entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, the empower ECER Academic Training programme assisted 2,332 underperforming students improve their academic performance, with a Minimum Level Achievement of 77% (Mencapai Tahap Minimum – MTM). Before the students participated in the empower ECER Academic Training programme, the MTM achieved was only 48%.

For the Orang Asli community in Kelantan, the empower ECER Academic Training Programme is now being implemented in three (3) Orang Asli schools, whereby 320 students have benefited in 2019. Through the empower ECER programme, 3M (Reading, Writing, Counting) proficiency has increased from 6% to 45%.

ECER is now in its next leap of growth with the implementation of the ECER Master Plan 2.0, which aims to transform the region into a productivity-driven, high value-added economy by year 2025 with the adoption of Industry 4.0 as a key pillar. This is also aligned with the 12th Malaysia Plan which is founded on the pillars of economic empowerment, environmental sustainability and social re-engineering.

In Kelantan, several high-impact projects have been completed which are projected to have multiplier effects for the surrounding communities. One of the completed projects that will contribute to Kelantan’s economic growth is the Plaza IMT-GT in Bukit Bunga, Jeli, a strategic commercial complex near the Malaysia-Thai border that will boost cross-border trade and tourism in Kelantan. The Plaza is also expected to spur further economic activities in the adjacent areas, as it complements existing commercial centres nearby, such as the Bukit Bunga Supermarket and the Bukit Bunga R&R Stop.

“We remain committed to improving the economic future and raising the living standards of the people in Kelantan. As such, we will continue to provide high impact Human Capital Development programmes for the rakyat, in addition to working towards infrastructure and investment growth. With the empower ECER programmes, the rakyat will be able to benefit from and contribute to the socio-economic growth of the Region. We want to ensure that no one gets left behind in the country’s journey to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income nation. This is in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan and the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, which envision balanced regional growth and equitable distribution of wealth in the nation,” concluded Encik Baidzawi.

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The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) is a statutory body established to spearhead the execution and implementation of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Master Plan.  ECERDC plays a lead role in setting the directions, policies and strategies for the socio-economic development of ECER by promoting and facilitating investments into the Region. 

ECER, which covers the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the district of Mersing in Johor, is a rapidly transforming region that is steadily positioning itself as a distinctive, dynamic and competitive destination for investments.

Geographically, it covers a total area of over 66,000 sq km or 51% of Peninsular Malaysia. It is home to some 4.3 million people, or about 15% of the total national population. The economic growth in the Region is driven by six key economic clusters; namely Tourism, Oil, Gas & Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Human Capital and Entrepreneurship Development as well as Logistics and Services. These clusters are supported by developments in Transportation, Infrastructure, Property and Environment to make the Region an ideal destination for business, investment and quality living.

For media inquiries, kindly contact:

Tengku Mazlinda Tengku Mahmood

Manager, Media Relations

East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC)

Tel: 03-2035 0182 / 010-408 1085

email: mazlinda@ecerdc.com.my