Major boost for Kuantan, surrounding areas

4/9/2011 — News Straits Times
The government will turn Kuantan and the surrounding towns into a new conurbation that will be highly integrated and economically densed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.
“The government foresees the Kuantan Conurbation to follow in the footsteps of well-known urban agglomerations like Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru with significant contributions towards the gross national income,” he said when opening the Pekan Automotive Park’s central marketing complex.
The Kuantan Cornubation will cover the capital city, Pekan, and the surrounding smaller towns, including Gambang, Gebeng and the Kuantan Port.
To achieve the goal, Najib said the government, through the East Coast Economic Region Development Corporation (ECERDC), is undertaking various infrastructure projects, including upgrading the Kuantan Port and expanding the Pekan Automotive Park (PAP).
He said the upgrading work for Kuantan Port would be completed in 2015.
The dedicated port city would become a centre of manufacturing and commercial services, apart from its main role as the regional distribution and logistics hub.
“I am also happy to note that the ECERDC is already embarking on phase two of PAP, which will cover an area of 96ha.”
Najib said ECERDC would provide the necessary infrastructure in PAP, and with the existence of the Central Marketing Complex, investors could get all the information and assistance to set up their operations in the park.
The PAP has already attracted well-known industry players, including Isuzu Hicom Malaysia, DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies, Mercedes Benz and Suzuki.
Since 1984, DRB-Hicom has also helped create more than 2,000 jobs with 70 per cent of the workforce from the surrounding areas.
Najib said under the collaboration between DRB-Hicom and Volkswagen AG of Germany, the assembly of completely knocked-down Volkswagen cars in the PAP would also commence in the fourth quarter of this year and will begin with the assembly of Volkswagen Passat, followed by the Jetta and Polo models.
With better facilities and customised incentives, Najib was confident that more car manufacturers would be keen to set up their operations in PAP, including for contract assembly of their vehicles.
Najib said the government would also encourage companies producing green vehicles, including electric and hybrid cars, to utilise the facilities in PAP as the ECERDC could provide tailor-made incentives for them.
“We can consider customised incentives, especially for projects that have a big impact on the industry and the environment,” he said.