KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 20): The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has secured RM7 billion in committed investments comprising 36 projects year-to-date, which are expected to create more than 5,700 job opportunities.
East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) said the ECER had maintained a good momentum in attracting investments towards meeting the council's 2025 cumulative target of RM70 billion.
Of the RM7 billion investments, RM4.3 billion would be realised in ECER’s existing industrial parks, largely concentrated in areas with integrated infrastructure and utilities, it said in a statement today.
The statement followed an ECERDC council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to discuss the region's performance and moving forward direction.
Other council members present at the meeting included Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and the Menteris Besar of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor.
ECERDC said foreign direct investment made up 73% of the committed investments.
Manufacturing is the dominant sector, representing 39% of new projects, followed by tourism and agribusiness at 25% each.
"Based on previous investment commitments, the total value of investments realised in 2019 was RM8.8 billion from 72 projects, with the manufacturing and tourism sectors securing 60% and 21% respectively," ECERDC said, adding that these investments would create more than 3,700 job opportunities.
According to chief executive officer Baidzawi Che Mat, the ECER is now in its next leap of growth with the implementation of the ECER Master Plan 2.0 (2018 – 2025) (EMP2.0), which aims to transform the region into a productivity driven, high value-added economy by year 2025 with the adoption of Industry 4.0 as a key pillar.
"The creation of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the ECER is the result of the implementation of inclusive socio-economic projects and programmes," he said, adding that ECERDC would continue to enhance the delivery of its high-impact projects and programmes to take the ECER on the next leap of growth.
ECERDC said the anchor company business model, which forms the basis of ECERDC’s agribusiness projects, had proven to be a successful private-public cooperation resulting in increased agriculture production for local consumption and for export, as well as providing employment opportunities to rural and orang asli communities.
In 2019, a total of RM156.2 million worth of private investment was realised with 643 jobs and 214 agropreneurs created across the three key subsectors of livestock, crops and fisheries.
"A key strategy for the ECER’s agribusiness cluster in the 12th Malaysia Plan will be the consolidation of small farms in the region. ECERDC will facilitate the provision of basic infrastructure while qualified anchor companies will bring investments in technology and know-how that will benefit nearly 6,000 farmers.
"In the effort to close the rural-urban divide, improve the income of B40 households, as well as to address the need for a sustainable pool of skilled workers and entrepreneurs in the region, ECERDC continues to implement its human capital development programmes," he said.
To date, more than 100,000 locals have participated in various ECERDC’s human capital development programmes.
Almost 95% of them are from the B40 communities, of which 70% are youths and 70% are female participants, he said.
The programmes include academic enrichment programmes for underprivileged and underperforming students, industry-driven up-skilling programmes for unemployed youths, as well as comprehensive up-skilling courses to transform the unproductive and B40 communities including disabled persons and the orang asli to become independent income-earners.
"These human capital development programmes, namely the empower ECER, entrepreneur ECER and the ECER Talent Enhancement Programme will continue to be prioritised in the EMP2.0, in light of the impact that they have had," Baidzawi said.
He said ECERDC would continue to implement high impact projects under the 12MP with special focus on strategic infrastructure projects to attract private investment into the manufacturing, agricultural and tourism sectors.
"The projects and programmes outlined in the EMP2.0 seek to shift the region’s economic landscape in order to attract quality private investments, create industrious entrepreneurs and high income job opportunities.
"This will enable the rakyat to participate in and contribute to ECER’s sustainable socio-economic growth and transformation, in line with the aspirations of Shared Prosperity Vision 2030,” Baidzawi added.
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