Malaysia: East Coast Economic Region development plan published
The new East Coast Economic Region Development Council development plan has been published. The ECERDC is the government body responsible for overseeing projects in the East Coast Economic Region: the eastern part of mainland Malaysia that includes the states of Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, and the Mersing District in Johor State. The ECER is one of five "Regional Economic Corridors" established by the Federal Government 2006 - 2008 to promote the more integrated and inclusive growth of the different parts of the country.
Entitled "The Next Leap” with a time horizon of 2025, the plan sets out a number of strategies and projects whose primary aim is to integrate the disadvantaged parts of the population into the productive fabric by investing in human capital with training programmes to improve skills in the "new economy" and the digital age, and to increase the manufacturing specialisation of the workforce.
The ECERDC plan aims to promote more than €15 billion of private investment to create 60,000 business opportunities and 120,000 new jobs for the Malaysian people. It has six priority strategies: to integrate the economically inactive into the labour market, to increase labour productivity, to diversify the economy, to improve transport nodes and networks, to foster economies of scale, and to strengthen infrastructure with a focus on ICT and extending broadband access.
It gives major importance to Industry 4.0 and the digital economy, considered essential for boosting the growth of the region. In the manufacturing sector, the priority is to expand the activities of the industrial parks already active in the region. In the oil and gas and petrochemicals sector the aim, again, is to strengthen the existing structures in order to increase the midstream and downstream activities that make use of the offshore output of the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area, which lies off the north-eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia.
The port infrastructure associated with these developing industries will also be upgraded. The aim is to attract more than 650 million Euros of private investment, creating 70 business opportunities and 1,300 new jobs. The two most important infrastructure projects provided for by the plan are the East Coast Rail Link (part of the Belt and Road Initiative) and the development of the Port of Kuantan (the capital of Pahan), which is strategically positioned within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle and serves the Far East and Pacific markets.
In the logistics and transport sector, the plan includes a programme denominated "Logistics and Trade Facilitation" to increase the presence of companies with the capability to provide advanced logistics services supporting the various production/distribution chains. Great importance is also given to the tourism sector, which has considerable untapped potential.