ECER Projects for Terengganu On Track

5/3/2009 — Press Release
The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) projects to improve the lives of the Terengganu population, spanning tourism, manufacturing, petrochemical and agriculture, are on track with a majority of the projects commencing by year end.
According to Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John, chief executive officer of ECER Development Council (ECERDC), infrastructure facilities for the projects have begun and the ECER is collaborating closely with the state governments as it goes into the next phase of attracting investors.
ECERDC officials had just returned from an investment mission to Europe with state officials, which focused on high growth areas such as tourism, manufacturing, halal industry, bio-tech and oil, gas and downstream petrochemical industries, which will create employment and improve their household incomes.
“Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, 44 projects have been identified under the ECER for implementation in Terengganu, of which 31 are state-wide projects while the balance 13 are cross-border projects involving other neighboring states,” he said.
“Work on 21 projects began in 2008, while 11 more will start by mid year, another ten before year end and the final two projects will commence next year.”
The ECER master plan has identified Terengganu as the tourism gateway and the hub for the region’s centres of excellence.
The state’s primary focus is also on petrochemical, oil and gas-based industries and agro-based activities particularly goat breeding and mutton clusters, aquaculture activities, vegetable farming, herbal parks and industrial-based crop focusing on kenaf cultivation.
“The ECER projects in Terengganu are gaining traction,” said Issace John.
“Kertih Plastics Park (KPP), the country’s first fully integrated plastics park, is expected to be fully operational in 2015, attracting RM2 billion worth of investments and creating more than 7,000 jobs.
“To drive KPP to its full potential, a benchmarking exercise and investment drive was conducted in Germany in March 2009 to position the park as a premier global plastics and polymer hub.”
The KPP has already attracted a total of RM195 million investments from from wire and cable maker, Hi Essence Cable Sdn Bhd (RM85 million), Latenfield Pipe Industries Sdn Bhd (RM20 million), and FMD Polypipes Industry Sdn Bhd (RM40 million).
Hi Essence Cable’s manufacturing plant is currently under construction and is expected to start operations by June.
Moving on to the manufacturing sector, the CEO said Kemaman will be developed as the state’s heavy industry park with integrated facilities which include designated areas for manufacturing, boat building and repairs, free zones and the new Jambatan Bukit Kuang for better connectivity.
“While Kemaman Port serves the industrial park for its logistics requirements, the nearby boat building and repair park complements the overall set up not only because of its proximity to port facilities, but also from tapping on the upstream and downstream developments within the oil and gas industry in nearby Kertih.
“As a tourism gateway for ECER, Terengganu will be developing the Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC), Kuala Besut – Kg Penarik – Teluk Bidara integrated resort development, ecotourism centres and state parks and homestay programmes.
“Meanwhile, five villages have been identified for the homestay programme to promote heritage and culture. Plans are also afoot to establish an Eco and Coastal Tourism Corridor in Besut-Setiu.
“In addition, the town of Dungun will be developed as the region’s seafood hub for tourism and commercial, tapping into its easy access to the Klang Valley via the East Coast Expressway Phase 2.”
Extending its integrated approach, the ECER has adopted a farm to table model for its agriculture programmes which encompass cultivating seeds to farming, processing, packaging and marketing both locally and internationally.
“Preparations are underway to build the centre for goat breeding and research centre in Kuala Berang which is expected to be ready by August 2010. This will help increase livestock and the dairy products in line with the nation’s food production policy,” said Issace John.
The ECER’s agriculture initiatives are also closely linked to the halal parks in Gambang and Pasir Mas to produce quality and sustainable food.
Meanwhile, the kenaf industry in Terengganu involving 5,000 hectare farms, has seen KEFIMA, an anchor company begin operations in Setiu. Two other companies have been identified as potential anchor companies for kenaf powder and kenaf polymer composite in Merchang.
The farming of kenaf will also involve the hardcore poor who can supplement their income with integrating this farming activity with cattle or fish breeding.
To boost ECER’s presence in the herbal and biotechnology industry, an Herbal & Biotechnology Park will be set up in a designated area for herb growing and herb-based biotechnology product centre. It will be coordinated under ECER’s halal initiatives via Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia (UDM) which will host a regional centre for halal products and a centre for bio-technology and herbal products.
Supporting these economic activities are the state’s enhanced infrastructure and education institutions.
“The upgrade of the Kuala Terengganu International Airport was completed last year while the East Coast Expressway Phase 2 is expected to complete by 2011.
“Terengganu is also host to three centres of excellence which will prepare the necessary human capital skills required by industry players.
“To fulfill its mission as the regional centre for halal products, Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia (UDM) had organised a seminar in February to focus on halal industry’s potential.
“Meanwhile, UiTM has gathered some 30 villages from Kampung Pasir Raja to attend the first session of the training in eco-tourism and hospitality management for homestay programmes. The next session is already slated for May,” he said.
To enhance and supplement ECER’s economic activities, socio-economic development projects are being carried out.
“Some 4,000 hardcore poor households will resettled over 3,000 hectares and participate in corn, chili, livestock and aquaculture farming; as well as processing and marketing, to improve their income by 2010.
“The livelihoods of 1,000 poor fishermen in 100 villages along the coast will also be enhanced through various activities expected to commence this month (May), including upgrading of fishing equipments and infrastructure support as well as entrepreneurial development.
“This year, at least 100 participants will benefit from the ECER’s small office home office (SOHO) programmes designed specifically for women who are not able to work away from home, with little capacity or skills to improve household income.”
Issace John added that ECER is collaborating with various government agencies to conduct seminars and trainings to increase Bumiputera participation in commercial and industrial initiatives.
”Among the initiatives lined up for implementation this year include a collaboration with Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNS) to introduce a franchise development programme to cultivate at least 50 franchisees in Terengganu this year within the main target group of graduates, youths and women.”
The council also has received funds under the recent stimulus package to provide re-training programmes for the unemployed and retrenched workers affected by the global economic slowdown.
Monitoring these state-wide projects, the CEO said, is the ECERDC’s state office which will also provide information on ECER projects to residents in Terengganu.
The opening of this office also marks the first meeting of the state’s Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) which will oversee the projects’ ground implementation. The Terengganu ICC consists 10 members, headed by Menteri Besar, Datuk Ahmad Said. Other members include ECERDC’s CEO as well as representatives of the state and federal government agencies and institutions.
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