PEKAN, 5 JUNE 2014: The Pekan Automotive Park (PAP) in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) today witnessed the official ground-breaking ceremony for Mercedes Benz’s design-and-build CKD warehouse which is being built by property developer Nilai Mahir Sdn Bhd.
The ground breaking ceremony was officiated by Vice President of Production, Mercedes Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Mr. Angel Legarda Martinez De Luco. Also present were Pekan District Officer, Dato’ Mohd Fadzli bin Mohd Kenali; Chief Executive Officer of Nilai Mahir (M) Sdn Bhd, Mr. Al-Meiraj Mohd Ali; and, Chief Executive Officer of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.
Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John in his speech described the project as a strong vote of confidence by global automotive players such as Mercedes Benz for PAP in particular, and ECER in general, as an ASEAN automotive hub by an established player such as Mercedes Benz.
“ECERDC is proud to be part of this development, particularly in facilitating the allocation of the project area within PAP, as well as in coordinating with the relevant governmental departments and agencies from the Federal and Pahang State Governments to ensure the successful implementation of this project,” he said.
Under Malaysia’s National Automotive Policy, PAP is designated as an automotive production centre and it has been identified as an Entry Point Project. Currently serving as the ASEAN regional base for Volkswagen, Suzuki and Mercedes Benz, PAP is now being expanded to cater to existing and new automotive manufacturers and vendors. The park will focus on high value-added manufacturing, with special attention on producing premium and alternative technology vehicles.
Dato’ Issace said there are five strong reasons favoring PAP as the manufacturing & assembly hub for automotive players targeting the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific markets.  Firstly, PAP is a mature industrial park which has been operational since 1984, serving as a CKD base for big names such as Malaysia’s DRB-HICOM, and global players such as Mercedes, Volkswagen, Honda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Suzuki. A wide range of vehicles are currently assembled here, from passenger cars and buses, to defense vehicles.
PAP also offers 237 acres of competitively-priced land for investment, in an environment that is infrastructure-ready and investor-friendly. In addition, PAP is strategically located in the ECER Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ) and it is located close to Kuantan Port which is currently being expanded into a deepwater port.
“The Kuantan Port Expansion project is scheduled for completion in 2016, and by then, the port will be able to accommodate bigger, modern vessels of up to 200,000 DWT. This will boost Pekan Automotive Park’s positioning as the regional assembly and parts distribution centre for the export markets in ASEAN and Asia Pacific,” Dato’ Issace said.
ECER also offers the availability of human capital skills and talent for automotive related industry. The presence of International College of Automotive (ICAM), a subsidiary of DRB-Hicom, in Pekan, was aimed at providing a continuous flow of skilled professionals in technical and engineering disciplines, as well as management and business fields.  Investors can also take advantage of the ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) which consists of “Match and Train” programmes as well as “Train and Place” programme, which were introduced to ensure an adequate supply of skilled talents in ECER who are able to meet the needs and requirements of the industries.
Finally, investors in PAP can take advantage of an attractive package of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives in ECER. They include 100% income tax exemption for up to 10 years or 100% investment tax allowance for up to five years, stamp duty exemption and flexibility in the employment of expatriates, among others.