KUALA LUMPUR, March 15— The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) continued to attract investments with RM85.7 billion recorded between 2007 and February 2016, despite the global economic slowdown.
The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) said last year, ECER attracted RM12.5 billion in investments, continuing the positive trend from 2013 and 2014, when it captured RM11.8 billion and RM15.7 billion in investments respectively.
Investments to date represent 77.9 per cent of the region’s target of RM110 billion by 2020 and are expected to create 92,800 jobs, about half of the 2020 target of 200,000 jobs.
These investments also represent a 14 times return rate on the government investment of RM6.0 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP), said ECERDC in a statement issued after its first council meeting for this year, chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The momentum for accelerated transformation would continue under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) (2016-2020) which allocated RM1.28 billion for 16 new projects and programmes.
Among the key projects that will be implemented under the 11MP by the ECERDC are Taman Industri Tok Bali, Pelabuhan Tok Bali in Kelantan; Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) and relevant infrastructure works in Terengganu; Taman Teknologi Pahang (PTP) in Gambang, Pahang; and projects to boost tourism in Mersing, Johor.
“These projects and programmes have opened up the region and are reducing disparities between rural and urban ECER, in terms of household income and quality of life.
“They have also created a new prosperity that is sustainable and inclusive. This is significant,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John.
ECERDC said strategic projects spearheaded by the government such as the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), dedicated industrial parks and Kuantan Port Expansion have established a healthy manufacturing cluster in the ECER.
The region is also set to realise its goal as a regional logistics and transportation hub with the completion of the Kuantan Port Expansion project in 2017, it added.
Meanwhile, manufacturing is consistently the top choice among clusters for investors, and has attracted RM46.5 billion (54.3% of total investment) since 2007, followed by tourism (RM14.2 billion) and bio-economy (RM7.4 billion or 8.6%).
The bio-economy sector is a relative newcomer, and has become an attractive proposition for global players attracted by the easy availability of Oil, Gas and Petrochemical (OGP) and agricultural by-products.
For Foreign Direct Investment, China continued to be the main source, underscored by the “Two Parks – Two Countries” bilateral trade and investment relationship between sister parks MCKIP and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP).
MCKIP alone has RM13.5 billion or 15.7% of the RM85.7 billion investments in the region.