10/20/2011 — BERNAMA
The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) todate has attracted RM48 billion worth of investments from domestic and foreign investors.
Of these investments, RM20 billion came through mostly in the oil and gas, agricultural, tourism and manufacturing industries, said the chief executive officer of ECER Development Council (ECERDC), Datuk Jebasingam Issace John.
“We foresee more capital investment from Middle East countries in the near future as the Middle Eastern investors are very comfortable with Malaysia as there are many similarities in culture and customs,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the ground breaking and launching of ECER’s RM5 billion Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) project, here Thursday, Issace said the council was currently in talks with potential investors from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar to identify potential projects for investment.
“They are keen on ECER’s agriculture cluster to meet their food security requirements, the development of halal hub, tourism opportunities, education and the petrochemical industry,” he said.
While noting the need to develop fiscal or non-fiscal incentives for investors in ECER, he said investors in the region enjoyed attractive incentives designed specifically for the region.
The fiscal incentives include income tax exemption of up to 10 years, Investment Tax Allowance of 100 per cent on qualifying expenditures and sales tax exemption, among others.
Non-fiscal incentives are also granted by the respective state governments, which include discount rate for land premium, quit rent and land assessment , guaranteed land lease period and flexibility in the employment of expatriates.
“With strong government backing coupled with abundant land, natural resources, quality human capital are important to ensure ECER becomes a major trade and industrial gateway,” he said.
The KTCC project was launched by Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said.
The project, with a gross development value of RM5 billion, will start January next year and is expected to be completed by 2018. The development is estimated to create jobs for more than 82,000 people by the year 2020.
The project is centered around five key development areas namely Muara Utara, Muara Selatan, Pulau Warisan, Kampung Ladang and the Corniche Waterfront.
Issace said the main infrastructure works in Muara Selatan, which include the construction of necessary earthworks, roads, drainage and other major utilities, started in August 2011 and will be completed by the second half of 2013.
This will be followed by the design and construction of the iconic drawbridge and the main infrastructure works for Muara Utara.