PM: ECER achieves RM32.7bil investments up to end-July

7/31/2012 — The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) achieved RM32.7bil in investments between 2007 and end-June, of which RM12bil were received in the first half of this year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who announced this on Tuesday said between January and June, ECER’s tourism cluster accounted for the highest amount of investments, at about 55%.
Next comes manufacturing at 31%, agriculture 8%, education 5% and nearly 1% in the services sector.
All the projects are expected to be implemented this year, Najib said in a statement after chairing the East Coast Economic Region Development Council’s second council meeting.
“Of the RM32.7bil total investments achieved since 2007 to date, RM21.9bil have already been received, creating 30,000 jobs, while contributing RM7bil in Gross National Income (GNI),” said Najib, who is also the council’s chairman.
The prime minister said the investment surge was backed by the progressive enhancement of infrastructures within the ECER economic corridor and aggressive investment promotions undertaken by the council in collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Among investments received between January and June are from the United States’ Gevo Inc., which will build the world’s first bioisobutanol factory worth RM1.65bil, to be located within the Kertih BioPolymer Park (KBP) in Terengganu.
Gevo will be joining CJ Arkema, a joint-venture company between France’s Arkema SA and South Korea’s CJ Cheil Jedang Corporation, which is investing RM2bil to develop the world’s first bio-methionine plant in KBP.
Currently, the ECER Development Council has completed the infrastructure works at the site of CJ Arkema’s bio-methionine facility in KBP and construction of the facility is expected to commence in the third quarter of this year.
Gevo’s announcement came after the strategic collaboration between the Terengganu state government, BiotechCorp and ECER Development Council to develop 1,000 hectares of KBP as Asia’s largest biorefinery complex.
The biorefinery complex at KBP is a major landmark as it is the first in Malaysia to utilise cellulosic feedstock to produce bioderivatives such as advanced carbohydrates, biochemicals, biomaterials, biofertilizers and active feed ingredient.
Najib said the ECER was well positioned to attract quality investors from diverse industries, including world-class players from the highly-advanced biotechnology sector.
“This is a strong proof that the government’s efforts in transforming ECER into becoming a developed region by 2020 is already starting to bear fruit.
“ECER is well on its way to narrowing the development gap that currently exists between the east coast and west coast regions.
“It has already cemented its position as a distinctive, dynamic and competitive investment destination on a global basis,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.
The prime minister said all these developments certainly augured well for ECER as its population now enjoy better jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities resulting from the investments.
The biorefinery complex is expected to attract RM7bil worth of investments and the total project is expected to generate a cumulative GNI of RM20.4bil by 2020 and produce 2,500 green-jobs for Malaysia.
In addition, Najib said Kelantan has received a major development boost with the proposed implementation of the Tok Bali Integrated Port project.
The project will be developed by the East Coast Terminal Sdn Bhd with a total investment of RM4.5bil, which will transform Tok Bali into a logistics hub for fish-based industries, tourism and oil and gas sector, he added. – Bernama