Terengganu’s socio-economic growth is expected to remain strong and resilient following the Federal Government’s concerted efforts through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) in partnership with the Terengganu State Government to implement high-impact InfraRakyat projects.
Recently, ECERDC awarded a contract worth RM168 million for the main construction and infrastructure works at the Kertih Biopolymer Park (KBP) including major earthworks, road and drainage works, utility works and services as well as other associated works. The 170-hectare KBP had so far secured a total of RM4.78 billion in investments and will create 5,119 potential job opportunities. Further to this, an area of 80 hectares has also been identified for KBP’s Phase 3 expansion to accommodate the growing demand in the bio-economy sector from both local and foreign investors.
Meanwhile, on the tourism front, ECERDC is also building a RM4.85 million jetty in Teluk Bakau at Pulau Redang, which comes from its ECER Catalyst Fund, to provide greater facilities to the islanders and tourists. These infrastructure projects are expected to solidify Pulau Redang’s position as a tourist haven. The island, with its pristine waters lapping the shores of the white sandy beach, was recently listed as among the top 10 best islands for a holiday in Malaysia by CNN Travel.
The bio-economy and tourism sectors are amongst Terengganu’s fast-growing industries, contributing 22.4% and 12.5% of the total private investments respectively in the state. The manufacturing sector remains the top contributor at 51.1%. Up until August 2017, Terengganu has received private investments worth RM29.7 billion. This strong investment growth in addition to ECERDC’s human capital development programmes will create over 38,456 jobs and 6,800 entrepreneurial opportunities for the Rakyat.
“The Federal and State Governments have been investing in high-impact InfraRakyat projects and human capital development programmes in Terengganu to facilitate greater domestic and foreign investments, thus increasing the contribution towards the state’s economic development. Key projects such as the development of industrial parks, the Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC), the upgrading of roads and other infrastructure in the state have played a vital and catalytic role in attracting investors – which in turn have created jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for the Rakyat,” said. Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, the Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC, after the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Implementation and Coordination Committee (ICC) Terengganu today.
The meeting was chaired by Terengganu Menteri Besar YAB Dato’ Seri Haji Ahmad Razif bin Abdul Rahman.
Meanwhile, the Akuapolitan Kuala Nerus (AKN) project, an integrated programme aimed at improving the household income and quality of life for fishermen, will stand to benefit some 452 households making up nearly 2,000 people including their families. The project involves both upstream and downstream fishing activities and is expected to start operation within the next four years. To ensure that a holistic development is in place to benefit the fishing communities, an integrated and sustainable commercial and fisheries ecosystem that includes a fisheries terminal, fish processing centre, fresh fish market and a micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) centre will be developed at the 22-acre land.
While infrastructure development works are expected to start by the first half of 2018, ECERDC has kickstarted with its human capital development (HCD) programmes such as empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER in AKN to equip the locals with the necessary skills and exposure so that they will be ready to participate either in jobs or entrepreneurial activities once the AKN project is ready to commence operation.
In addition, the north and south estuary of the Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) is currently being developed into a new Central Business District (CBD) which combines the state’s unique heritage, local architecture and landscape. This strategic “live, work and recreational” hub will transform Kuala Terengganu into a heritage waterfront city or “Bandar Warisan Pesisir Air” and will create more than 10,000 job opportunities for the locals.
Amongst some of the infrastructure works being carried out at KTCC is the drawbridge which links KTCC’s Muara Utara and Muara Selatan. Set to be an iconic landmark in Kuala Terengganu and the first-of-its-kind in the region, the drawbridge will not only reduce congestion at the Sultan Mahmud Bridge, but also significantly shorten travel time between downtown Kuala Terengganu and the Sultan Mahmud Airport. The drawbridge is expected to be completed by second quarter 2018.
“Moving forward, we expect even greater socio-economic transformation to take place in the ECER including Terengganu as the Federal Government continues to invest in various InfraRakyat to facilitate the mobility of people and goods in the Region. The implementation of the 600-km East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) will be a game-changer in transforming the Region as it will link key industrial hubs in Terengganu with Kuantan Port and Port Klang. It will also significantly enhance connectivity and mobility across the urban and rural areas in the state including the districts of Kampung Raja, Penarik, Kuala Terengganu, Pengkalan Berangan, Dungun, Kemasik and Chukai – thus boosting trade, business and job opportunities,” added Issace.
On the human capital development front, as of August 2017, 89,000 people have benefitted from the programmes whereby 90% of the HCD participants are from the B40 community. For instance, the empower ECER which consist of the Academic Training programme and Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme have benefitted 8,807 students and 2,683 adults respectively. Meanwhile, a total of 1,554 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs have also been created through ECERDC’s entrepreneur ECER programme.
ECERDC has also been collaborating with the Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU) to offer incentives and support to Bumiputera companies. To date, a total of 71 companies worth RM3.9 billion in Terengganu have received incentives from ECERDC or facilitation funds from TERAJU@ECER, or both. From these investments, more than 7,744 job opportunities are expected to be generated for the Rakyat.
“Currently we are working towards reviewing our current strategy for the ECER including Terengganu which will be unveiled next year to sustain the socio-economic growth of the Region in line with the National Transformation Agenda. In fact, the logistics and trade facilitation industry is expected to be a growing sector to further propel the state forward in its next phase of growth, leveraging on the enhanced connectivity across the Region,” concluded Issace.