9/10/2011 — The Star
China has pledged to invest RM900mil in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), which is expected to generate 30,000 jobs.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said he hoped the investment would further spur growth in the east coast.
“As you know, the east coast is an area we are working very hard to develop.
“There are many developments in west coast states like Selangor and Johor but the east coast states are still lagging behind,” he said after witnessing the exchange of documents between ECER Development Council and China-based Wenzhou Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau here yesterday.
Mustapa said he hoped that with the signing of the deal, more Chinese companies would invest in the east coast region.
“This investment will not only help create employment opportunities in the region but will also result in closer co-operation between China and Malaysia,” he said.
Mustapa also said he was currently discussing with Wenzhou city officials on a joint venture between Malaysian and Chinese companies to develop a 55 sq km industrial park in Wenzhou.
“They (Wenzhou officials) are going to submit a written proposal to me on the project, detailing the model they are suggesting for this park.
“Next week, my ministry officials will be visiting their counterparts in Beijing to discuss this matter,” he said.
ECER officials said with China’s pledge, it was expected to surpass its annual investment target of RM5bil by October, bringing the total since its launch in 2007 to RM48bil.
They said an estimated 30,000 jobs in the service, manufacturing and logistics sectors would be generated by the investment.
The pledge will also see the establishment of an integrated industrial park comprising logistic and warehousing facilities at ECER’s Special Economic Zone in Kuantan, Pahang.
ECER Development Council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said the construction of the industrial park was expected to begin mid-next year and would take 18 months to complete.
“We are in the midst of discussing details with our Wenzhou counterparts on the project model,” he said.
Located in the southeast of Zhejiang district, Wenzhou produces 60% of China’s shoes and also has a strong presence in apparel manufacturing.
It is also a major manufacturing centre for electrical appliances, electronic items and light machinery.
Also present at the signing were Wenzhou City Foreign Trade Deputy Director Zhou Zheng and Wenzhou Municipal People’s Government vice mayor Xu Yufei.