ECER aims to draw RM30b from Gulf investors

12/1/2009 — Business Times
THE East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council aims to attract RM30 billion in investments from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries next year.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said based on previous investments from the GCC states comprising Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), projects in halal food manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and livestock, education, and oil and gas will be appealing to them.
He is confident that the economic and financial crisis will not affect the activities, especially in food production.
As of May 2009, 28 manufacturing projects from the GCC countries with investments worth US$1.215 billion were approved.
“Within the ECER, there are many synchronous businesses with the GCC states such as free zones, ports, petrochemical and polymer parks, real estate developments as well as tourism,” he said on the sidelines of the Malaysia-Arab Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Between 2008 and 2009, the economic development corridor has attracted RM30 billion in investments from all parts of the world.
ECERDC is planning an investment mission to the GCC region in March next year.
Earlier, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir urged GCC countries to take up the challenge to develop and lead the world in Islamic banking and finance.
Malaysia has introduced various measures and tax incentives to create a modern and efficient international Islamic financial centre.
“Let us work to jointly develop standardised Islamic financial products, structures and systems,” he said.
On developing Malaysia as the global halal hub, Mukhriz said the private sector is being encouraged to set up alliances with domestic and international players and leverage on each others’ strengths in the supply of raw materials, ingredients, technology and branding.
Mukhriz also touched on the gold dinar proposition, saying that it is more viable now in light of the weaker US dollar and the soaring gold prices amid the current global economic environment.
On Malaysia’s economic linkages with the GCC, he said most are focused in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
From 2008 to September 2009, investments from these two countries totalled RM92.9 billion.
Malaysia is keen to engage the GCC in a free-trade agreement.