ECER Eyes More Gulf Investments

1/31/2011 — BERNAMA

Malaysia’s East Coast Economic Region (ECER) aims to attract RM5 billion (US$1.67 billion) in investments annually, of which, RM2 billion is expected to come from the Middle East.
ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said ECER Malaysia was confident of attracting more investments from the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) this year.
“We’re now in serious discussions with several potential investors from the Middle East and expect to announce positive developments by this year,” he said at the “Invest Malaysia 2011” forum launched here on Sunday.
Issace said there was keen interest from the Middle East on the ECER, especially in the areas of the halal industry, tourism and agriculture, particularly livestock and fisheries.
Between 2007 and 2010, the ECER attracted RM35.6 billion (US$12.2 billion) worth of investments, of which RM15.3 billion (US$5.1 billion) has already been received.
The CEO pointed out that a presence in the ECER meant that Middle Eastern investors would have instant access to the burgeoning markets of the Far East and Asia Pacific, with a total population of four billion and a combined GDP of US$17 trillion.
The ECER Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is one of ECER’s key attractions.
Among projects being promoted in the ECER SEZ are the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster, Mainland Coastal Tourism Development of Pantai Sepat, Cherating and Kijal respectively, the Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Industrial Park, Kertih Polymer Park and Kuantan Port City.
Issace noted that the ECER had abundant land, which could fulfil the needs of Middle East countries seeking to enhance their food security programme.
“As Malaysia shares many cultural similarities with the Middle East, this makes ECER an ideal destination for investments in syariah-compliant and family-oriented resorts and hotels,” he said.
He added that GCC universities and colleges could also establish their Malaysian branch in the ECER.
The economic region covers the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the district of Mersing in Johor.