TERENGGANU, 6 SEPTEMBER 2020: Finance Minister Yang Berhormat Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz engaged with industry players in tourism and oil, gas and petrochemical (OGP) sectors in Terengganu today to seek input in the preparation of Budget 2021, which will be tabled in the Parliament before end of the year.
The Budget 2021: Focus Group Session with Industries, jointly organised by the Ministry of Finance, Terengganu State Government and the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), sought feedback and ideas from tourism and OGP players to further boost domestic tourism and attract new investments which will aid the country’s economic recovery post COVID-19.
“The feedback and input from the industry players will be invaluable towards the formulation of Budget 2021. It will certainly be relevant for the development and growth of these sectors in Terengganu and the East Coast Economic Region (ECER),” said Yang Berhormat Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.
It was vital to engage with key players in the Tourism industry in the ECER as tourism has been identified as one of key sectors that was severely affected during the onset of the pandemic. During the Focus Group Session with Tourism Industry Players, the government and industry representatives shared ideas, explored strategies and discussed the provision of incentives to local businesses as well as infrastructure development required to ensure the sustainability of the islands and push forward, Arts, Culture and Heritage tourism in Terengganu.
The session was aptly held at Kampung Budaya, Muzium Negeri Terengganu, befitting the topic of the day. It was attended by representatives from agencies, associations, hotels, universities and non- governmental organisations such as Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) Terengganu Office, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH Terengganu Chapter), Terengganu Tourism Association (PPNT), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin and Berjaya Redang Resort.
Tourism is one the most important economic drivers in ECER, attracting RM21.5 billion in private investment from 2007 to 2019. In order to grow the sector in a strategic and sustainable manner, ECERDC has created destinations to increase tourist arrivals and open more opportunities for locals to be involved in tourism industry via creation of entrepreneurship and job opportunities. To further promote the development of island tourism in ECER, various strategic infrastructure projects have been undertaken to improve connectivity and accessibility, but at the same time, to preserve the natural assets of the island.
“Islands are facing infrastructure challenges and threats to marine biodiversity. Therefore, the development and enhancement of supporting infrastructure such as jetties, walkways, public amenities and solid waste management will help to preserve the islands’ natural assets and further catalyse the
tourism industry in the islands. This is timely as there is an expected increase of local tourists to these islands in the post-COVID-19 era. Therefore, other measures including further upgrades to tourist facilities and incentives to local businesses need to be seriously considered and implemented to attract more tourists,” said Encik Baidzawi Che Mat, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC.
Under the ECER Master Plan 2.0, besides emphasizing on development of infrastructure at popular island destinations such as Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Perhentian Kecil, Pulau Redang, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Lang Tengah and Pulau Tenggol, ECERDC has concurrently developed coastal tourism and urban tourism such as Terengganu’s iconic landmark, the Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) drawbridge, and ecotourism sites in Kenyir and Setiu Wetlands to draw crowds away from the islands to ensure the sustainability of island tourism.
The Minister also had a separate session with key players in the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical (OGP) industry at Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS (INSTEP). Among them were PETRONAS, Arkema Thiochemicals Sdn Bhd, Terengganu Oil and Gas Council (TOGC), and Kemaman Bitumen Sdn. Bhd, among others.
OGP is an important sector which contributes 34.3% (RM12.3 billion) to Terengganu’s GDP. The OGP ecosystem in ECER is centered around the Kertih Integrated Petrochemical Complex (KIPC), an integrated petrochemical complex comprising nine (9) petrochemical plants. Eight (8) are fully owned by PETRONAS and one (1) is jointly operated by PETRONAS and a foreign multinational company (MNC). The ecosystem is also supported by Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP), a flagship ECER project that has placed Terengganu as a world-class hub for bio-based and petrochemical products. The surrounding infrastructure such as the Kertih Port, Kemaman Port and Kemaman Supply Base offer excellent connectivity and supply base to support the needs of existing and potential investors in the OGP sector.
“The OGP Industry in Terengganu is maturing and for the industry to go to the next level, ECERDC is proposing new initiatives for consideration. Among them are including the upstream sector as part of ECER promoted activities for incentives, as well as enhancing and increasing participation from local companies in vendor programmes. ECERDC is also proposing new focus areas, especially on specialty chemicals to drive growth and attract high value-added downstream investments,” said Encik Baidzawi.
The new focus and initiatives are in line with the strategies outlined in the ECER Master Plan 2.0 (EMP 2.0), to take the OGP sector into the next leap, which include enhancing linkages with downstream industries, intensifying the development of technologies in materials and product applications, as well as diversifying into manufacturing-related services and support industries.
ECERDC is also working closely with the relevant Ministries to enhance key strategic infrastructure facilities such as electricity, water supply and broadband to support growing investor requirements. The ECER Incentive Package will continue to be offered to attract more investors into the Region. This is in addition to enhancing the overall well-being of the rakyat through the enhanced ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP), a reskilling and upskilling programme in line with the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA).
“Collaboration is key as we join forces towards unlocking the potential of the Region. We are confident that the feedback obtained from today’s dialogue sessions will be beneficial in the development of Budget 2021. ECERDC will continue to work together with industry players, the Federal and State Governments to spur investments and socio-economic growth in the Region,” concluded Encik Baidzawi.
About ECER and ECERDC
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 4.8 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: 03-8885 0182 / 010-408 1085