ECERDC Mission To Middle East A Success, says Abdullah

5/17/2010 — BERNAMA
The ECERDC investment mission to the Middle East has been an eye-opener to investors in the Middle East on the abundant opportunities awaiting to be tapped in Malaysia’s East Coast Economic Region (ECER), says Adviser to Corridor Development in Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Describing the mission as successful, Abdullah said the visit to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia was a success with a good response and reception.
“It was clear that they were expressing their wish not just to visit ECER but also to invest and form joint ventures with Malaysian entrepreneurs for specific projects,” the former prime minister told Bernama at the conclusion of the trade mission.
Abdullah led the ECER Development Council’s (ECERDC) investment mission to West Asia, including Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates, Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia from May 7-17.
The mission, a follow-up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s earlier visit to Saudi Arabia in January, was aimed at attracting investors as well as enhancing bilateral business relationships with the Middle East nations.
Also present at the interview were ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Jebasingam Issace John, Deputy Pahang State Secretary (Development) Datuk Mahadiah Mohamad and ECER Terengganu CEO, Zulkifli Mohamad.
Abdullah said businessmen from both the countries had said that they were very comfortable doing business with Malaysia and they were looking forward to exploring the possibilities of investing in the ECER.
He also said that throughout the mission, there were strong synergies between ECERDC and the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) in the areas of Halal Park development, halal product production and promotion of the halal industry opportunities.
The global halal industry offers a vast range of opportunities for investors, targeting some 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide with a market value worth US$411 billion.
He said there was also strong interest in the Malaysian model for Halal development. Nonetheless, it is still too soon to explore this field in Saudi beyond the realm of food and financial systems, Abdullah said.
On the agriculture sector, he said there were opportunities for Malaysian companies to explore the possibility of supplying for or partnering with Saudi investors for raw materials.
This is an opportunity that should be immediately capitalised by Malaysian firms, he added.
Meanwhile, Jebasingam said Abdullah’s presence helped to open doors and create an impact for the ECERDC mission.
The economic development corridor offers fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that are specially tailored to investors venturing into the respective ECER clusters namely, tourism, oil, gas and petrochemical, manufacturing, agriculture and education.
Two core incentives which apply to all projects are income tax exemption and investment tax allowance.
The investors may also enjoy attractive non-fiscal incentives.
These include premium land prices, flexibility in employment of expatriates, preferential tariffs for utilities, the granting of ECER status to eligible companies and provision of grants to viable projects, among others.
ECERDC is a special-purpose vehicle to drive the implementation projects and key programmes identified in the ECER Masterplan.
It is also empowered to coordinate the promotion of trade, investment, tourism and development activities within ECER.
ECER covers Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, as well as the district of Mersing in Johor.