ALOR SETAR: The Barisan Nasional-led Kedah Government aims to exploit the potential of districts bordering Thailand in the north and Penang in the south to spur economic growth of Malaysia’s “rice bowl” state, says Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.
He said the south of Kedah comprising Sungai Petani and Kulim is reaping the spin-offs of Penang’s rapid development.
“The ties between Sungai Petani and Kulim with Penang are akin to that between Johor and Singapore. I am determined to develop southern Kedah by taking full advantage of Penang’s fast-paced development,” he told a media conference to mark his 100 days as Kedah Menteri Besar.
Among plans in the pipeline for Sungai Petani and Kulim are to increase rest and recreational activities that can attract Penangites especially during the weekends.
For areas in north Kedah bordering Thailand, Mukhriz said the state government hopes the Kota Putra project in the Padang Terap district and Kota Perdana Bukit Kayu Hitam project in Kubang Pasu will capitalise on the close relations with areas in southern Thailand as the source of economic growth.
He said the border areas can serve as a catalyst for tourist attraction, cashing in on visitors from Thailand crossing over to Malaysia through Kedah.
“Vehicles entering from Thailand are now heading straight to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor without stopping over in Kedah.
“I hope we can do something to create activities such as building shopping centres that are attractive to them and there are goods that can be bought in this state,” he said.
Mukhriz said the state also intends to establish a logistics hub in northern Kedah to collect and distribute industrial products manufactured by the small and medium enterprises in the state throughout the country and to Thailand.
He said there are also opportunities to bring in products from Thailand to the hub for value-adding to meet the halal standard requirements and to obtain Malaysia’s halal certificate for the Malaysian market and for export.
“I think this is a good idea. We are studying it now. I can see that these activities will turn northern Kedah into a fast-pace growth area in sectors that are different from that in southern Kedah,” he said. — Bernama
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 15, 2013.
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