Pekan Sees Vast Economic Changes With Najib At Helm

4/4/2009 — BERNAMA
Once a small town with its economic activities limited to agriculture and small industries, Pahang’s royal town of Pekan today has a growing industrial sector as well.
The town today also recorded history for having two of its Members of Parliament as the prime ministers of the country – the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the Pekan MP who became the second Prime Minister of Malaysia and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia Friday morning.
The first time Pekan tasted fame was when Tun Abdul Razak was elected the country’s prime minister in 1970.
More than three decades later, his eldest son, Najib, took oath for the same office, replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Pekan, which in the past was relatively left behind in terms of development compared with other districts in Pahang, however has seen much changes in the recent years especially following the appointment of Najib as Deputy Prime Minister in 2004.
Currently, the economic activities in the fourth largest district of Pahang, with a size of 380,500 hectares and a population of 120,000, cover not only agriculture and cottage industries but also includes a growing industrial sector boosted by foreign investments.
In line with Najib’s aim to establish Pekan as an automotive hub, he is said to have successfully attracted world renowned automobile assembly companies to invest in Pekan and these include the producers of Isuzu from Japan and Mercedes Benz from Germany.
The District Officer of Pekan, Datuk Mohd Basik Mohd. Ali said an industrial zone covering 1,000 hectares in size was created in Peramu Jaya here for the setting up of auto assembly plants which now provide more than 4,000 job opportunities for locals.
Mohd Basik said the existence of the factories in the zone have also helped to stop the migration of locals especially the younger generation to the urban areas.
What is something to be even more proud of is that the automobile companies have also acknowledged that the automobiles produced in Pekan are better than those produced in their own countries, he said.
“This proves that the companies involved are also acknowledging the work of the Pekan people directly involved in the production of the vehicles,” he told Bernama in an interview.
Meanwhile, two automobile producers, namely Chevvy from China and Volkswagen from Germany have also expressed their interest to invest in Pekan and negotiations are now at the final stages, he said.
If these plans become a reality, they would create another 3,000 employment opportunities for the locals.
The idea to develop Pekan as an automotive hub was already on board before the launch of the East Coast Economic Region in October 2007, and under the ECER development plan, Pekan was categorised as an automotive hub in view of its vast growth in the area of vehicle assembling.
Another upcoming project in Pekan is the Oil, Gas and Maritime Industrial Park in Tanjong Agas. The project was recently launched in Kuala Lumpur by the Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Mohd Basik said the project successfully attracted an investment of RM6 billion with the majority of it coming from foreign investors.
“Several investors have signed the Memorandum of Understanding and they are expected to begin the project soon,” he said.
The industrial park will involve an area of 1,639 hectares.
“Todate, a total of 640 hectares to 800 hectares of land have been handed over to the investors and the whole area is expected to be leased by the investors in two years time,” he said.
The project is expected to be completed in three to four years and RM2 billion has been allocated for the provision of infrastructure facilities.
A local company, Tanjong Agas Supply Base & Marine Services Sdn Bhd (TASBMS) will be operating the park.
Mohd Basik said the industrial park will become the first such modern one-stop centre for the maritime, oil and gas industry in Pahang and probably in Malaysia as well.
It will be divided into several sections and will have among others designated areas for recovery and maintenance of ships, fabrication, petroleum terminal, factory sites, town centre, residential as well as commercial centres.
“This project will start to generate income for Pahang state as soon as work on the infrastructure development starts including the provision of jobs for 4,000 people in the initial stage,” he said.
The mega project is expected to transform Pekan in the next five years and certainly with the appointment of Najib as Prime Minister, more development can be expected in this district.