HIS MAJESTY THE SULTAN OF JOHOR LAUNCHES MERSING HARBOUR CENTRE New Tourism and SME Centre to Boost Mersing’s Position as Premier Tourism Destination

MERSING, JOHOR, 10 SEPTEMBER 2017: Tourists visiting Mersing will now have another must-visit destination to add to their list following the official launch of the newly completed Mersing Harbour Centre. The centre is one of the projects undertaken by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) to boost Mersing’s position as a premier tourism destination around the region.
 The Mersing Harbour Centre has more than 50 units of F&B outlets, shop lots, push carts and kiosks, whereby priority has been given to eligible entrepreneurs from the Below 40 (B40) income group, including nine (9) participants of the empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurial Training programme under the ECERDC’s Human Capital Development’s initiatives.
At the centre, tourists can indulge themselves in local delicacies as well as visit the unique arts and crafts shops and purchase souvenirs sold by local entrepreneurs. The integrated SME and Tourism complex also comes with essential amenities for the public such as parking lots, an information counter, an exhibition hall, a surau, a children’s playground and other facilities, serving as a one-stop location for tourists and locals. The construction of the centre started in January 2016 and operations began on September 2017.
His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim Ismail ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj, the Sultan of Johor launched the Mersing Harbour Centre today as part of His Majesty’s four-day 800km Kembara Mahkota Johor 2017. It was the fourth “pit-stop” of His Majesty’s expedition. Also present were Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah Al Mutawakkil Alallahi Shah, Permaisuri Johor, His Royal Highness Tunku Ismail Idris ibni Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, the Crown Prince of Johor, Tuan Haji Ashari Bin Kasnan, District Officer of Mersing, and Yang Berbahagia Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC.
“The Mersing Harbour Centre is one of the high-impact projects implemented by the Federal Government through the ECERDC and the Johor State Government as part of the strategy to transform Mersing into a premier tourist destination as well as a gateway to the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park and its group of islands. Its development is based on the “Rainforest to Reef” (R2R) concept which seamlessly links all products, assets and development from the Endau-Rompin National Park to the world class beaches, islands and reefs of the coast of Mersing,” said YBhg. Datuk Seri Issace.
“Moreover, the growth of the tourism sector in Mersing, facilitated by the infrastructure upgrades and improved accessibility will help boost the socio-economy of the district through better jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. In line with this strategic direction, ECERDC together with the Johor State Government will also further enhance our human capital development programmes such as empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER to upskill the local talent pool, which in turn will help to improve the livelihood of the rakyat,” he added.
Leveraging on Mersing’s great potential for community and eco-based tourism, the Federal Government through ECERDC and the Johor State Government have been developing both the coastal area and islands around Mersing through the enhancement and upgrading works of public amenities including pedestrian walkways and mosque, the construction of infrastructure projects such as a jetty complex for island hopping activities as well as new commercial business areas for tourists and local entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, tourism projects such as the Tanjung Penyabong and Kampungstay Air Papan at Pantai Teluk Buih developments as well as the Medan Ikan Bakar Endau-Mersing provide tourists with a diverse travel experience while at the same time offer job and entrepreneurial opportunities for the people in Mersing.
As part of Mersing’s ongoing transformation, several key infrastructure works are currently in progress namely the Pusat Informasi dan Perkhidmatan Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar (PIPTLSI) at Pulau Besar, Mersing, which is expected to be completed by year 2018, and the jetty in Pulau Pemanggil and Water Supply Development within Mersing’s group of islands.
The event at the Mersing Harbour Centre had a carnival-like atmosphere, with over 2,000 people present. Part of the festivities included a lucky draw, colouring contests for the children, quizzes as well as an engagement session with local radio deejays.
During the event, a total of 29 students from the empower ECER Academic Training Programme, 5 empower ECER Skills and Entrepreneurship Training participants and 1 entrepreneur ECER participant in Mersing were presented with achievement awards in recognition of their success in academics or entrepreneurship.
In this regard, Nurul Hidayatul Islamin binti Johar, recipient of the “Usahawan Gemilang” award was recognised for her efforts in successfully increasing her monthly earnings by 10 times. Although faced with nerve issues in her lower body, this has not brought down her spirits in starting her own business, “Vendor Ala Kampung” selling cosmetic products.
Another recipient, Noorsharliza binti Dali received the “Usahawan Transformasi” award for her tenacity in transforming her livelihood around. In order to ensure a comfortable life for her four children, she took sewing classes under empower ECER to enhance her skill while working as a seamstress to earn enough savings to open her shop. With her increased income, she could now afford to send her eldest child to Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI).
Meanwhile, Krishnan A/L Ramasamy, who once failed in his business, joined the empower ECER’s business enhancement course following the encouragement of his wife. Through the support of the programme, Krishnan worked hard and succeeded to improve his “muruku” business. For his efforts, he walked away with the “Usahawan Jati Diri” award.
Zakuan Lam Abdullah’s story is no less inspiring, earning him the “Usahawan entrepreneur ECER Mersing” award. The loan facility he received under the entrepreneur ECER – Maybank scheme was used to boost his operating capital and upgrade his boat repair workshop. Following his company’s expansion, he has managed to hire another six employees from the original four he employs before joining the programme. His company also actively collaborate with a renowned international company to upskill all his 10 employees.
“To date, more than 880 adults and 2,400 students in Mersing have benefitted from the ECER Human Capital Development programmes including the entrepreneur ECER and empower ECER programmes in which 97% of the participants are from the B40 community. In fact, the public investment into the region has also helped developed 714 micro, small and medium Enterprises and created more than 1,085 job opportunities in the district. This is part of our goal to ensure that the rakyat will benefit from the growth of the tourism sector in Mersing,” Datuk Seri Issace concluded.
The Kembara Mahkota Johor 2017 is an annual event which covers all 10 districts in Johor. Following the event at the Mersing Harbour Centre, the Kembara Mahkota Johor entourage headed off to their next destination at Felda Nitra 1 in Mersing.
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