ECER Projects To Spur Mersing Development

6/9/2009 — News Release
Five projects identified under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) master plan to develop the district of Mersing as a tourism destination and gateway to the Mersing group of islands, will stimulate its economy by year 2020.
“With a view to benefit the population, Mersing’s development will be two-fold consisting tourism projects as well as infrastructure upgrades to enhance the region’s accessibility and tourist facilities,” said Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John, chief executive officer of ECER Development Council (ECERDC) after the state’s first Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) today.
“Meanwhile, to increase entrepreneurial opportunities, several social and human capital development initiatives will be introduced. These ECER projects are interrelated and will enhance the region’s dynamism.”
According to the ECER master plan, Mersing has great potential for ecotourism, mainland coastal tourism and island tourism.
Mersing town is the established gateway for the Mersing group of islands as well as Pulau Tioman in Pahang, boasting many attractive unspoiled beaches along its coastline. It is also the main ecotourism gateway for the Endau Rompin National Park.
Mersing’s coastal area will be transformed into an integrated tourism destination through the development of coastal resorts and hotels, a new commercial business area, as well as a jetty complex for island hopping activities.
The project will involve land reclamation of about 2,000 acres on the seafront side of Mersing town, which will be developed as an integrated resort featuring waterfront homes, hotels, as well as new commercial and business areas.
A new jetty complex has also been proposed, which will house a passenger ferry jetty, a fishing jetty and a marina.
The passenger jetty can operate on a 24-hour basis and handle large capacity vessels. This will boost the potential for island tourism by allowing more regular time tabling of ferries, extending operating hours and permitting tourists to go to the islands in greater numbers.
The fishing jetty adjacent to the proposed passenger jetty will offer organized, safe berthing for fishing vessels which will enable local fishermen to operate more frequently and with fewer constraints. This will lead to better productivity and more consistent output.
A programme that allows home owners to participate in tourism activities and supplement their household incomes, homestays are a great way for tourists to experience the real Malaysia, “while availing themselves to warm local hospitality, share home-cooked meals and witness local customs and traditions,” said Issace John.
In Mersing, Kampung Air Papan Laut has been identified as a viable homestay initiative, with further upgrading of its facilities and accreditations to meet the industry standard are to be expected.
With the programme proving to be such a hit with the tourists, efforts are underway to identifying other potential Mersing villages as participants.
The coastal area from Mersing town to Kg. Sedili Besar has high potential as a major coastal and island tourism destination and this will be greatly enhanced with the construction of a new coastal road.
The existing road from Mersing in the north turns inland at Felda Tenggaroh before reaching Kg. Sedili Besar and Desaru in the south.
The construction of a new coastal road will not only reduce the overall travelling time from Mersing to Johor Bahru, but will also enhance tourism activities and development potential within the Felda Tenggaroh area.
This road will also encourage the island-hopping tourists to board their ferry at the Tanjung Leman jetty in addition to the existing jetty in Mersing town.
The construction of the new 68 km coastal road, which is scheduled to commence by the end 2009, will also include the provisions of rest areas and vantage view points.
“By providing this new coastal road, Mersing can attract more local and foreign tourists, especially from Singapore, which make up a major part of Malaysia’s tourism,” said Issace John.
Malaysia registered 22.05 million tourists last year, surpassing the 21.5 million target set by the government under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, according to the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board. Singapore registered the largest number of tourists in 2008, contributing 49.9 per cent of the total arrivals.


In addition to being the main gateway to the nearby group of islands, Mersing is also the main gateway to the Taman Negara Endau-Rompin, one of ECER’s main eco-tourism destinations.
To enhance the accessibility, the existing laterite track from the federal road at Kg. Kahang to Kg. Peta, the destination point for Taman Negara, will be upgraded.
The upgrading of the existing 56 km track will include the construction of bridges and culverts, and raising the road platform level to above the annual flood level, reducing the occurrences of flood in that area.


Meanwhile, SMEs involved mainly in production of fish-based products will be given training to improve their knowledge in product packaging, accreditation, certification, R&D, marketing as well as upgrade to machinery and processes.
To allow women to participate in business and contribute to household income, several SOHO related projects will also be introduced in Mersing. With feasibility studies currently ongoing, this initiative is expected to commence by mid-year.
To develop local entrepreneurs and increase their participation within the industrial and commercial sector, a comprehensive action plan involving among other collaborations with related government agencies is also ongoing. The project expected to commence by end 2009.
A skills training and graduate placement programme to train school leavers, university graduates and the unemployed from Mersing district will also be initiated by mid year.