KUALA LIPIS, PAHANG, 2 OCTOBER 2021: Finance Minister YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz led a delegation to Pahang Barat as part of Jelajah Belanjawan 2022 programme today.
The Finance Minister visited Kuala Lipis, Temerloh and the RAMSAR site in Tasik Bera to survey the development needs in the Pahang Barat Plus Region to ensure that balanced economic development is being implemented to realise the region’s potential as Pahang’s new economic growth centre. Pahang Barat Plus includes the districts of Bentong, Cameron Highlands, Raub, Lipis, Jerantut and Bera.
Accompanying him on the working visit were Pahang Menteri Besar, YAB Dato’ Sri Wan Rosdy bin Wan Ismail, Deputy Minister of Finance I, YB Tuan Mohd Shahar Bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Member of Parliament for Lipis, YB Dato’ Sri Abdul Rahman Bin Mohamad, Pahang State Exco members, YB Dato’ Sri Ir. Haji Mohd. Soffi bin Tan Sri Abd. Razak, YB Dato’ Haji Nazri bin Ngah, YB Dato’ Abd Rahim bin Muda, YB Dato’ Sri Norol Azali bin Sulaiman, and Chief Executive Officer of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), En. Baidzawi Che Mat.
The ECER Master Plan 2.0 has identified projects for implementation to support the development of key industrial clusters in Pahang Barat. Subsequently, the Pahang Barat Plus Economic Region Development Plan 2021 study is being conducted by the Pahang Barat Plus Unit, under the Pahang State Economic Planning Division (BPEN) to spur development in the area.
This plan includes strategies to increase investment from the economic development of key industrial clusters such as tourism, agriculture, timber, mining and SMEs, improving infrastructure especially road connectivity system, telecommunication and utility supplies as well as the development of the Orang Asli community and SME entrepreneurs.
“Projects that are under planning and under implementation are in line with the strategy outlined in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to improve connectivity and transport infrastructure, which will stimulate the local economy. Strategic infrastructure projects such as the Central Spine Road (CSR) which is being implemented by the Ministry of Works, is a game changer for Pahang Barat. This project is able to change the economic landscape as it will reduce the travel distance between the East and West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia as well as open up new areas of economic activity and investment in the vicinity,” said En. Baidzawi Che Mat.
Tourism Development in Pahang Barat
A key economic driver of socio-economic growth in Pahang Barat is the tourism sector. Pahang Barat is blessed with natural and cultural assets, offering unique ‘experiential tourism’ through ecotourism and heritage-themed tourism destinations. The development of the Malayan Tiger Trail (MTT) has been identified as a major attraction for eco-adventure lovers and will be developed.
At the same time, the Lipis Heritage Tourism Development involves efforts to upgrade and maintain heritage buildings and colonial architectural structures in Kuala Lipis including the Pahang Club Building and the Lipis Heritage Museum. Projects to upgrade the historic buildings of Kuala Lipis will improve basic tourist facilities in Kuala Lipis and contribute towards the development of sustainable heritage tourism. Apart from that, the Finance Minister also visited Sungai Jelai Riverfront, a location with potential to be developed. Upgrading the infrastructure at Sungai Jelai Riverfront will turn it into a community focal point for recreation, which will further stimulate the local economy.
ECERDC is also focusing on the development of tourism and supporting infrastructure at the Mossy Forest Eco Park, Cameron Highlands to turn it into a premier eco-tourism destination.
“These projects by the Pahang State Government and ECERDC are important to breathe new life into Kuala Lipis Town Centre and position it as an eco-tourism gateway as well as the historical heritage site of Pahang and Malaysia. This will promote sustainable heritage tourism in Pahang Barat,” said TPr Harizah Bt Dato’ Hj Hassan, Chief Executive Officer of Pahang Barat Plus Unit.
ECERDC is also implementing the agrofood@ECER initiative which includes the development of the dairy industry, coconut cultivation and animal feed projects in Pahang Barat. One of the major projects to be developed is the ECER Dairy Valley project in Pahang Barat which will replicate the success of the Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre (MSCRIC). The Dairy Valley in Pahang Barat is expected to produce 3.0 million litres of milk per year when it is fully operational and will contribute towards meeting the demand for fresh milk and meat in the country as well as provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for local farmers and agro-preneurs.
Human Capital Development
In Pahang Barat, special emphasis is given to the development of the Orang Asli community as many of them are among the hardcore poor. ECERDC is working closely with various parties including the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA), Yayasan Pahang, Yayasan PETRONAS, MyKasih and Universiti Malaysia Pahang to coordinate and implement Human Capital Development programmes for the Orang Asli, namely empower ECER, entrepreneur ECER and PENJANA-ECERDC.
In terms of training and development programmes, the Orang Asli in Kampung Orang Asli Pantos and Kampung Orang Asli Betau Lipis are being trained to cultivate chilli using fertigation techniques, while Orang Asli of Sungai Yol, Kampung Orang Asli Pasu, Raub and Kampung Orang Asli Leryar and Kampung Orang Asli Tiat, Cameron Highlands are involved in the Chilli Fertigation programme and Homestay Course.
ECERDC is also collaborating with JAKOA to identify 10 potential Orang Asli to participate in the entrepreneur ECER entrepreneurship programme. Around 100 Orang Asli participants are also being identified and are expected to participate in the upskilling and reskilling programmes under PENJANA-ECERDC, with the aim of ensuring up to 80% of the participants will obtain employment opportunities.
“The development of Pahang Barat requires attention. With the completion of Central Spine Road, integrated effort is needed to realise the potential of all focus sectors in order to improve the livelihood of the people in the Region, in line with the spirit of an inclusive ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ and Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030,” concluded En. Baidzawi.