Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Training programme to help job seekers

Monday December 21, 2009
Training programme to help job seekers

KUANTAN: The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council is hoping that at least 70% of some 2,000 participants of three human capital development programmes in Pahang will qualify for job placements with its partner companies.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the programmes were the graduate and employee placement programme, the graduate training programme and the skills training programme.

“For example, there are 610 registrations for skills training in the area of automotive engineering and design, hospitality, ICT, supervisory management and logistics and supply chain,” he said.

The participants, he said, would be exposed to on-the-job training for between one and nine months and enjoyed a minimum monthly allowance of between RM1,200 and RM1,500.

“Young people, especially unemployed graduates, should grab this opportunity,” he said, adding that the monthly allowance was quite attractive.

Adnan said to date, 15 local and multinational companies had become partners in the programme.

“We aim to get up to 60 companies and we believe that it can be achieved,” he said.

On the progress of projects in the ECER, Adnan said things were proceeding well ahead of schedule.

- Malaysia Star -

ECER Council Out To Woo Middle East Investors

November 30, 2009 18:25 PM

ECER Council Out To Woo Middle East Investors

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- To create more jobs and drive business opportunities within the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), the ECER Development Council is aiming to attract investments from the Middle East.

Malaysia is expected to attract investments totalling RM9 billion from the Gulf states in the next 10 years, according to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority.

As of May 2009, 28 manufacturing projects from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with investments worth US$1.215 billion were approved.

The projects were in the sectors of basic metal products, food manufacturing, wood and wood products, chemicals and chemical products, petroleum products as well as machinery and equipment.

ECER Development Council's chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said the ECER has many synchronous businesses with the GCC states such as free zones, ports, petrochemical and polymer parks, real estate developments and tourism.

"Malaysia is also known as a progressive Muslim country, which will be comforting to many GCC member countries," Jebasingam said in a statement Monday.

"This, along with the vast business opportunities available, makes Malaysia an ideal place for investment for both business and leisure," he said.

Jebasingam said based on the GCC's previous investments, the ECER's projects in halal food manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and livestock, education, oil and gas as well as its by-products would be appealing.

"In addition, ECER's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with customised fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will whet the GCC's interest further," he said, adding that the SEZ would have speedy project approvals and project implementation facilitated by the ECER Development Council and the state governments.

According to Jebasingam, the SEZ is also attractive because it is located just two hours from the Klang Valley and has excellent accessibility to ports, airports, roads and railways.

"At 390,000 hectares, the integrated development at SEZ will contain new townships, international tourism sites, four ports, two airports and knowledge innovation zones," he said.

The ECER's key economic developments are in the fields of tourism, oil, gas and petrochemical, manufacturing, agriculture and human capital development.

In addition to encouraging foreign direct investment inflow, the ECER can also tap the full potential afforded by regional economic cooperation and regional market opening following Malaysia's recent liberalisation announcements.

Among the ECER's push for Middle East investments is its participation in the Malaysia Arab Business Forum being held from Nov 30 to Dec 1, 2009.

The forum is jointly organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and Malaysia Gulf Cooperation Countries Business Council.

-- BERNAMA

Study On East Coast Rail Route In Progress

December 14, 2009 19:00 PM

Study On East Coast Rail Route In Progress


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council is conducting a study on the proposed East Coast Rail Route to improve the rail transport system in the region.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the study covers rail linking the Klang Valley to Mentakab, Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Baharu.

"The study's outcome will allow the government to set the track alignment and determine the type of train service for the East Coast," he said in reply to a question by Senator Fatimah Hamat in Dewan Negara here on Monday.

Fatimah wanted to know whether the government planned to conduct a study on rail service linking Terengganu to Pahang and Kelantan.

Abdul Rahim said the government had plans to improve the rail transport system in the East Coast of the peninsula.

-- BERNAMA

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DRB-Hicom Needs Strategy To Face More Competitive Industry - Najib

December 12, 2009 15:44 PM

DRB-Hicom Needs Strategy To Face More Competitive Industry - Najib

PEKAN, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- DRB-Hicom Berhad needs a strategy to maintain its success in an increasingly competitive industry, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Saturday.

He said the group should not be satisfied with its current strategy although it has brought success since the opening of its automotive complex in Peramu Jaya here 25 years ago.

"They should implement a strategy to face the next 25 years," Najib said at a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the automotive complex.

"We cannot just retain the strategy which has been successful for the past 25 years but also take dynamic and timely measures to ensure success for the next 25 years," he said.

Also present were the Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah, who officiated the event, Sultanah Pahang Sultanah Kalsom, Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Abdullah, Tengku Puan Pahang Tengku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah and the Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Looking back, Najib said the automotive industry had started in Pekan 33 years ago with the opening of a factory by Tatab Industries Sdn Bhd in Peramu Jaya in 1976.

He said after three decades, the industry began to show encouraging development and progress, especially under the DRB-Hicom group which built its own automotive complex in 1984.

Najib said besides offering job opportunities to about 2,200 workers, especially those residing in Pekan, the complex has produced almost 5,000 vehicles since its opening.

"Its achievements are not only in making vehicles for well-known producers like Isuzu and Suzuki but also for Mercedes-Benz which has given an opportunity for it to assemble various models, including the S500 class which has the highest value," he said.

Najib also said that the workers' capability and the technology being used by the group are comparable with international standards.

The complex, he said, also contributed to the economy through the excise duty and road tax which increased 78 per cent to RM442 million last year from RM178 million in 2005.

The figure is expected to reach RM525 million this year, he added.

-- BERNAMA

"Bridge of Friendship" to enhance Malaysia-Thailand ties

News 2009-12-08 18:47

JELI, Dec 8 (Bernama) -- The 120-metre bridge across the Golok River, linking Bukit Bunga here and Ban Buketa in Narathiwat, Thailand, is to be renamed the "Bridge of Friendship" to symbolise the deep diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Thailand.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will officiate at the renaming tomorrow in conjunction with their visit to southern Thailand as part of the annual bilateral consultation.

The RM9.2 million bridge was opened on Dec 21, 2007 and has been known as the "Bridge of Goodwill."

On the Malaysian side of the bridge is the RM37.2 million 4-storey Bukit Bunga Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex which houses the offices of the Immigration Department, Customs Department, Police, Health Department, Forestry Department and Veterinary Services Department.

The construction of the bridge came under the Joint Development Strategy of the border areas launched in 2004 to serve as a catalyst for the transformation of the poor community through benefits derived from the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) development programmes.

ECER is expected to set off transformation in Kelantan and the benefits of the development are expected to spread out to the Malay Muslim community in Narathiwat as well.

Besides the physical development, the Malaysian Malay community can also extend their expertise in human capital development as there is no barrier in terms of language, culture and religion between the communities.

Intensive courses on learning methodology, opportunities to study at Malaysian institutions of higher education institutions or courses on skills could be explored here.

No obstacles stand in the way of Malaysian entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business network and partnerships as their technology is most effective in certain fields, such as agriculture.

The Bridge of Friendship brings hope for the Malay Muslim community in southern Thailand to achieve progress and development after suffering setbacks due to terrorism.

In NARATHIWAT, the Muslim community of southern Thailand is looking forward to the visit of Najib and Abhisit tomorrow, hoping that it will bring peace to the strife-torn region.

Che Hir village headman, Jali, 47, said the people were looking forward to peace and political stability.

"Every day, we hear of murders and shootings but we do not know who is responsible," he told Bernama.

At 6pm yesterday, a bomb went off at the market in Narathiwat, killing a man and his wife while a student of a religious school was shot dead by a band of armed men in a village, 70km from Narathiwat.

A villager of Kampung Ban Pa near Narathiwat, Abdul Rahman Daud, 37, said the people lived in fear and anxiety and hoped that Najib's visit would help to ease the fear.

A trader in Sungai Golok town, Mek Esah Wok, 58, said traders were unable to conduct their business safely owing to the attacks by the irresponsible people.

"We can be killed by a bomb at any time, or shot at by unidentified people, but to earn a living, we must carry on doing what we have to do," she said.

The mother of seven children, two of them girls, is hoping that Najib's visit would help to ease the crisis which has instilled fear in the people.

- Sin Chew -

Pahang Has Right To Claim Oil Royalty, Says Goverment Supporter

November 19, 2009 17:33 PM

Pahang Has Right To Claim Oil Royalty, Says Goverment Supporter

KUANTAN, Nov 19 (Bernama) -- A government supporter has asked the Pahang government to claim oil royalties from the federal government, claiming that the oil extracted in Terengganu waters could also come from areas in the state.

Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN-Padang Tengku), while debating the Pahang government's 2010 Budget in the State Assembly on Thursday, said a consulting firm should be appointed to study the matter in an effort to boost the state's revenue, which had suffered budget deficits for 12 consecutive years.

"Terengganu is given oil royalties, Kelantan gets compassionate payment, but why isn't Pahang given anything when it has the right (to receive royalties)," he said.

Meanwhile, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said told the assembly that the first phase of the upgrading and expansion project of Kuantan Port as a manufacturing hub and main logistics centre in the development of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), would start by end of 2010.

It would entail the construction of wave breakers and the widening and deepening of navigation routes.

He said the project would turn Kuantan Port into a commercial gateway between Malaysia and Asia-Pacific countries while some 50,000 job opportunities would be created by 2020.

-- BERNAMA

ECER Council Out To Woo Middle East Investors

November 30, 2009 18:25 PM

ECER Council Out To Woo Middle East Investors

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- To create more jobs and drive business opportunities within the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), the ECER Development Council is aiming to attract investments from the Middle East.

Malaysia is expected to attract investments totalling RM9 billion from the Gulf states in the next 10 years, according to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority.

As of May 2009, 28 manufacturing projects from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with investments worth US$1.215 billion were approved.

The projects were in the sectors of basic metal products, food manufacturing, wood and wood products, chemicals and chemical products, petroleum products as well as machinery and equipment.

ECER Development Council's chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said the ECER has many synchronous businesses with the GCC states such as free zones, ports, petrochemical and polymer parks, real estate developments and tourism.

"Malaysia is also known as a progressive Muslim country, which will be comforting to many GCC member countries," Jebasingam said in a statement Monday.

"This, along with the vast business opportunities available, makes Malaysia an ideal place for investment for both business and leisure," he said.

Jebasingam said based on the GCC's previous investments, the ECER's projects in halal food manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and livestock, education, oil and gas as well as its by-products would be appealing.

"In addition, ECER's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with customised fiscal and non-fiscal incentives will whet the GCC's interest further," he said, adding that the SEZ would have speedy project approvals and project implementation facilitated by the ECER Development Council and the state governments.

According to Jebasingam, the SEZ is also attractive because it is located just two hours from the Klang Valley and has excellent accessibility to ports, airports, roads and railways.

"At 390,000 hectares, the integrated development at SEZ will contain new townships, international tourism sites, four ports, two airports and knowledge innovation zones," he said.

The ECER's key economic developments are in the fields of tourism, oil, gas and petrochemical, manufacturing, agriculture and human capital development.

In addition to encouraging foreign direct investment inflow, the ECER can also tap the full potential afforded by regional economic cooperation and regional market opening following Malaysia's recent liberalisation announcements.

Among the ECER's push for Middle East investments is its participation in the Malaysia Arab Business Forum being held from Nov 30 to Dec 1, 2009.

The forum is jointly organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute and Malaysia Gulf Cooperation Countries Business Council.

-- BERNAMA

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sirim Expands Services To Support Ecer Growth

August 05, 2009 19:19 PM

Sirim Expands Services To Support Ecer Growth

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 (Bernama) -- SIRIM Bhd is expanding its services to cater to the industry needs at the Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER).

In a statement here today, SIRIM said it would provide the ECER technical assistance and human capital development in the areas of metal fabrication technology, packaging and labelling and post-harvest machinery in agriculture.

"These services will also be expanded to new companies which are expected to be established in ECER, it said.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, said with the development of Tanjung Agas in Pekan, Pahang as part of ECER zone to create activities in petrochemical and fabrication engineering work, the demand for these services was expected to grow significantly.

"This will provide opportunities for employment to the local community and small medium enterprises (SME) technical support services," he said.

SIRIM, he said, has been actively involved in SME development activities, which included the enhancement of product packaging and labelling in the food-related industry.

"This is in line with the objective of ECER in upgrading and improving the product presentation of companies which are operating in this region," he said.

He said SIRIM has also proposed to train and assist welders to be qualified underwater welders and inspectors under the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP).

Ongkili said this skill was in demand especially in the petrochemical (offshore), port, marine (ship maintenance and repair) and liquid-filled tanks.

For this, he said, SIRIM proposed an allocation RM6 million under the 10MP to cover infrastructure development, human capital development and equipment for the underwater welding centre in Pahang.

-- BERNAMA

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Malaysia Has To Change To Innovation-Based Economy, Says Najib

Malaysia Has To Change To Innovation-Based Economy, Says Najib

KUANTAN, Aug 4 (Bernama) -- Malaysia needs a paradigm shift from a knowledge-based economy to innovation-centred in order to stand in the same row with advanced nations, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today. "This is important especially in efforts to integrate the economy with the global economic network.

"We are determined to continue to bring changes to the economy. Now, we are working towards innovation-centred economy. The three main features are creativity, innovation value and high skills," he said when launching MSC Malaysia Pahang Initiative. Najib said the MSC Malaysia was a crucial initiative in ensuring innovation was at the highest level. So far, MSC Malaysia has set up more than 2,300 MSC-status companies which have provided 80,000 highly-skilled jobs.

On the national broadband penetration plan, the prime minister said Malaysia had achieved 26 per cent so far and aimed to increase it to 50 per cent by next year.

"The government is confident of achieving the target. If we attain the 50 per cent target, a study by the Economic Planning Unit showed it would boost the national GDP by 1.2 per cent," said Najib who is also Finance Minister.

The MSC Malaysia Pahang Initiative is part of the MSC Malaysia's overall rollout plan which aims to spread the MSC Malaysia benefits and value propositions nationwide.

It will complement the East Coast Economic Region development plan through the use of ICT.

MDeC is now the strategic advisor to the Pahang State Government and will be working closely with the Pahang Technology Resources Sdn Bhd (PTR), the One Stop Agency for MSC Malaysia Pahang to plan and implement ICT programmes.

PTR is a company wholly-owned by the Pahang state government.

Najib said the government had approved RM12.86 million to the Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) under the second stimulus package for the implementation of MSC Malaysia ICON programme for the rivate sector.

This is in line with the government's aspiration to increase the national broadband penetration and generating demand through the enablement of online content.

MDeC was tasked to lead the private sector initiatives in the development on online contents while Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) has been entrusted to lead the public sector initiatives.

The MSC Malaysia ICON programmes include the award of grants to small and medium enterprises to develop and re-purpose the educational and social networking based content for online enablement, development program targeted at local developers to produce mobile and online applications.

Besides supporting the effort to increase the national broadband penetration, the MSC Malaysia ICON programmes intend to open up opportunities for local entrepreneurs to participate in the development of online contents through targeted support in the areas of project funding, skills development and infrastructural requirement.

Under MSC Malaysia ICON, among the programmes initiated are ICONedu, ICONity, ICONapps and ICONex.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New economic zone to create 220,000 new jobs by 2020

Wednesday August 5, 2009
New economic zone to create 220,000 new jobs by 2020

PEKAN: The country’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ), launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Tuesday, is expected to generate investments worth RM90bil and create 220,000 new jobs by 2020.

The Prime Minister said the SEZ was expected to contribute more job opportunities and yields compared with the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).

The SEZ covers an area of 3,875 sq km from Kerteh in Terengganu to Pekan and Gambang in Pahang.

Najib said the ECER SEZ was part of a new economic model designed by the Government that promises a fairer distribution of wealth and growth to be enjoyed by all.


Special zone launched: Najib looking at a map of the East Coast Economic Region’s Special Economic Zone and the Pekan Agropolitan project in Pekan Tuesday. With him are (from left) Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and ECER council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John (fourth from left).

“One of the projects identified is the Kuantan Port which will get a massive face-lift. Its current annual cargo bulk is expected to increase from 16.8 million metric tonnes to 30 million metric tonnes by 2020.

“It will involve construction of additional berths and wave breakers that will see the port becoming the main entry and exit point for the export and import of goods,” Najib said in his speech at the launch of the ECER SEZ at Runchang here yesterday.

In a move to attract investors, the Government will approve a set of special incentives for them including tax exemption for 10 years, Najib told reporters later.

“The Government has decided to offer additional incentives for those who showed merit, on top of those that have already been given. This will be on a case-by-case basis,” he added.

Najib also launched the Pekan Agropolitan Project that promotes the development of growth centres in the rural areas to provide sustainable income and eradicate hardcore poverty.

He later witnessed the exchanging of the cooperation agreement between ECER DC and Felda, which is the main implementing agency to manage participants in-volved in the agropolitan project.

The participants will be involved in oil palm plantation and sheep rearing as the primary activity.

Among the guests were Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Noh Omar and ECER Development Council chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John.

Najib also said the Government would consider creating SEZs in other areas in the country if they were suitable.

He said the SEZ would not affect the development of the ECER.

The STAR Online

Malaysia introduces special economic zone

Malaysia introduces special economic zone
09-08-04 14:51:31

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia Tuesday introduced a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to boost economic growth for its east coastal region, local media reported.

The SEZ was aimed to attract 90 billion ringgit (25.7 billion U.S. dollars) to an area covering two east coastal states of Terengganu and Pahang, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak when he launched the zone in Pekan, his hometown in the Pahang State.

The area measuring 25 kilometers by 140 kilometers would create 220,000 jobs by 2020, he said.

He said that SEZ has special incentives for investors, including a ten-year tax exemption, 100 percent investment tax allowance, and exemptions from import and export duties.

Najib added that SEZ would attract more investments to the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).

ECER was launched in 2007 by former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and it was aimed to develop the east coastal area covering four Malaysian states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang,as well as Mersing, a northern district of the Johor State.

www.chinaview.cn 2009

Hardcore-poverty reduction project ready to take off

Friday July 31, 2009
Hardcore-poverty reduction project ready to take off
By NIK NAIZI HUSIN

PEKAN: It’s all systems go for the first phase of a sheep farming project here with the arrival of a batch of 649 sheep from Australia.

This agropolitan project under the East Coast Economic Region (Ecer) development programme is aimed at reducing hardcore poverty.

Sheep rearing is one of the primary activities under the Ecer masterplan. The other is oil palm plantation. The RM90mil sheep husbandry project with 3,500 sheep is spread out over 2,000ha in Kampung Runchang, an orang asli resettlement area, and Batu 8 Mukim Bebar.


Hardy animals: The herd of Dorper sheep at the Ecer station in Kampung Runchang, Pekan.

Youths from the local communities are hired as general workers and trained in the day-to-day duties of sheep farming.

The newly-arrived herd of Dorper sheep made up of 28 rams and 621 ewes reached the Kampung Runchang station after a 24-hour journey by air and road that started in Melbourne.

Thirty villagers have been hired to care for the sheep housed in six production units.

Ecer social development division general manager Zulkifli Yaakob said the orang asli workers were paid RM500 monthly for a four-hour workday.


Heavy job: Workers carrying a sheep to its hut.

He said they would have the rest of the day free to take on other jobs such as collecting rattan in the forest and working on construction sites.

“With the project, they will have permanent jobs and a fixed income.

Worker Khairil Nizam Ali, 23, said he had been searching for a permanent job for some time and was glad to be offered the job at the farm.

He said he did not earn much previously at a fruit orchard nearby.

Khairil hoped the experience and knowledge gained from the project would enable him to start his own sheep farm.

Azian Semana, whose husband works on the farm, said she was happy her husband Rizal Manaf, 24, had a permanent job.

She said that Rizal had worked in Kluang, Johor, and she had been worried about him living away from the village.

“We have a daughter and she missed him a lot when he was away.

“It is good that my husband has a job here now,” she added.

The project in Kampung Runchang is the first of its kind in this country, with Felda being appointed as the implementing agency.

Felda subsidiaries will employ the workers, provide training and technical support, monitor product quality and operate a buy-back service.

The Dorper breed was chosen because it requires minimal input of labour and is considered an economical breed. It does not need shearing or crutching and is disease-resistant. It is a South African breed developed by crossing the Dorset Horn and Blackhead Persian breeds.

The Dorper is the second-largest breed in South Africa with over 10 million head. In recent years, it has become popular in the Middle East, Canada, Australia, South America, Mexico and the United States.

In the Malaysian project, it is being reared for its meat.

Mohd Yusof said that pure-bred Dorper rams could reach 120kg while the ewes weighed about half of that.

“The Dorper can thrive in harsh conditions. They are a fertile breed with the potential for lambing every eight months,” he said, adding that the second phase of the project involving Mukim Bebar was expected to start in September.

- The STAR Online -

Govt Committed To Continuing With Regional Development Plan

August 04, 2009 15:49 PM

Govt Committed To Continuing With Regional Development Plan

PEKAN, Aug 4 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Tuesday the government is committed to continuing with the regional development plan for the country.

The prime minister said that the development, which involved the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) and 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), would continue until 2020.

"Under the 9MP alone, the government has allocated an additional RM2 billion to carry out suitable projects," he said when opening the East Coast Economic Region Special Economic Zone (ECER SEZ) at the Agropolitan Town here.

He said regional development was not a new concept but had been practised by the country's second prime minsiter, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and modernised by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"I want to express my aspiration, as Tun Abdullah's successor, for the corridor development concept to be enjoyed here now," he said.

Najib said the concept had a huge impact, especially in generating wealth which could be enjoyed equitably and comprehensively by all strata of the society in line with the country's development.

He also said that regional development was in keeping with the 1Malaysia concept which stressed social justice for all.

"The concept of regional development is not about a cluster which focuses on investors only but a concept centred on the people, people first, from large projects so that the ordinary folk can benefit," he said.

He said, for example, that the Agropolitan project could eradicate hardcore proverty among 45,000 households nationwide by the end of next year.

-- BERNAMA

Five growth clusters to boost ECER

Tuesday August 4, 2009
Five growth clusters to boost ECER

PUTRAJAYA: Five growth clusters will be established within the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) to step up development and economic growth in the area.

The clusters are petroleum, gas and petrochemical, agriculture, education, manufacturing and tourism.


Warm welcome: Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat greeting Najib before the ECER development council meeting in Putrajaya yesterday. Looking on is Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman (left). — Bernama

This was among decisions made at the ECER development council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

The meeting also discussed the establishment of a port city, a centre for automotive industry in Pekan, Pahang, a plastic manufacturing centre in Kerteh, Terengganu, and an agropolitan project, among others.

Najib will spell out details of the five clusters after launching the agropolitan project in Pekan today, which is expected to provide jobs to 5,000 locals.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

IOI Group executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng was the private sector representative at the meeting.

The STAR Online

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

George Kent hot on acquisition trail

George Kent hot on acquisition trail
By Presenna Nambiar
Published: 2009/07/15

George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd (3204), which makes water meters and brass components, is aggressively looking for acquisition targets to grow its meter and contract divisions.

In addition to regional markets like Vietnam, Singapore and China, it is looking at Europe.

George Kent chairman Tan Sri Tan Kay Hock said it was looking for companies which can complement its manufacturing facilities, add to its range of water meters or are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

"We want to buy something soon because if the market starts to recover good assets will no longer be cheap," he said.

Tan said teams have been sent out to scout for potential targets, with the latest one just back from Singapore.
Depending on the size of the acquisition, the company would even be willing to go back to its shareholders to raise funds if required.

George Kent has about RM27 million in cash.

"The important thing is getting the right target. We are not afraid of the size," Tan told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Besides sales of its own water meters, 40 per cent of revenue comes from being OEM suppliers to "friendly" competitors.

As part of its transformation initiative launched some two and a half years back, George Kent plans to further develop its general civil and structural engineering expertise to enable it to take up more turnkey contractor and project manager jobs.

The key areas of focus will be in infrastructure works related to water and waste water, healthcare and hospital facilities.

The contract division is expected to contribute between 30 and 40 per cent revenue in the next five years.

George Kent is bidding for several projects under the Tenth Malaysia Plan, including the Pahang-Selangor raw water transfer scheme - package 3A: Semantan river intake and pumping station, the Langat II water treatment plants, new hospital upgrading and extension projects, and several other water infrastructure projects in Peninsular Malaysia.

It won its first job as a turnkey contractor in February this year for the 106-bed facility at Hospital Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

"The future prospects for George Kent will be bright. The strategic plan we have in place will not deliver instant results, but we are building the foundation for long-term growth of the group," Tan said.

- Bussiness Times

Monday, July 6, 2009

MAS, Royal Brunei to extend pact STG plans second resort in ECER

Saturday June 27, 2009
MAS, Royal Brunei to extend pact STG plans second resort in ECER

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Royal Brunei Airlines will code-share flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Kota Kinabalu, as well as between Bandar Seri Begawan and Kuching, effective July 1.

“As Borneo is a popular destination for North American and North Asian tourists, our customers can now enjoy seamless connectivity to the three major cities,” said MAS commercial director Datuk Rashid Khan in a statement.

The code-share for Bandar Seri Begawan-Kota Kinabalu wil be twice daily and the Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuching route twice weekly.

KUALA LUMPUR: The STG Group, developer of the Gold Coast Resorts projects, will invest RM50mil in a lake holiday resort in Kenyir, its second in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).

The first is the RM10mil Gold Coast Kuantan resort with 99 apartment suites, with a view of the South China Sea.

“The Gold Coast Kenyir development will comprise a hotel mall with shops, longhouses and bungalows built over Kenyir Lake’s serene waters,” STG chairman Datuk Dr Alex Tan said in a statement.

The STG Group is targeting to be listed by 2012. — Bernama

ECER Projects To Spur Mersing's Development

9 June 2009

ECER Projects To Spur Mersing's Development

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Bernama) -- Mersing will be developed as a tourism destination and gateway to the Mersing group of islands under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) master plan.

In a statement today, the ECER Development Council's chief executive officer, Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said five projects had been identified under the ECER master plan and which are expected to stimulate Mersing's economy by 2020.

He said, according to the ECER master plan, Mersing had great potential for ecotourism, mainland coastal tourism and island tourism.

"To increase entrepreneurial opportunities, several social and human capital development initiatives will be introduced. These ECER projects are interrelated and will enhance the region's dynamism," he said.

Mersing's coastal area will be transformed into an integrated tourism destination through the development of coastal resorts and hotels, a new commercial business area as well as a jetty complex for island hopping activities.

The project will involve land reclamation of about 2,000 acres on the seafront side of Mersing Town, to be developed as an integrated resort featuring waterfront homes, hotels as well as a new commercial and business area.

A new jetty complex has also been proposed to house a passenger ferry jetty, a fishing jetty and a marina.

Mersing town,the established gateway for the Mersing group of islands as well as Pulau Tioman in Pahang, boasts of many attractive, unspoiled beaches along its coastline.

It is also the main ecotourism gateway for the Endau Rompin National Park.

-- BERNAMA

103 Projects Implemented At Economic Corridors, Says Najib

July 02, 2009 21:16 PM

103 Projects Implemented At Economic Corridors, Says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 (Bernama) -- A total of 103 or 46 per cent of the 224 projects listed for implementation at the five regional development corridors have started, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told the Dewan Rakyat Thursday.

He said some of the projects were at initial stage such as environmental impact assessment, design evaluation, land surveying and site preparation.

"In terms of projects that have been started according to economic corridors, Iskandar Malaysia has recorded 100 per cent and Northern Corridor Economic Region has registered 43 per cent," he said in his written reply to Hee Loy Sian (PKR-Petaling Jaya Selatan).

Hee wanted to know the progress of the economic corridors initiated by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and whether the government would continue with the corridor projects.

Najib said 45 per cent of the projects slated for the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) have been started, Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) 28 per cent and 100 projects at Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

"As of now investments received via signing of contracts for all the five regional development corridors totalled RM155.71 billion or 7.4 per cent higher as compared to the RM145 billion targeted investment under the Mid-Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan," he said.

The Prime Minister said the government would continue with regional development corridor initiative to address development imbalances in states and regions.

"This approach will build on the present advantage in the development areas and will be expanded to potential areas within the corridor areas and focus on optimising the available resources to the fullest," he said.

Najib said the development programmes would ensure the locals benefited from creation of jobs, business opportunities and provision of facilities to boost income and improve the people's standard of living.

"In the long-term, the government believes the spin-offs from the projects will be accepted by the people from all strata of society including people in the rural areas," he added.

-- BERNAMA

STG Group To Invest RM50 Million In Kenyir Lake Resort Project

26, 2009 16:02 PM

STG Group To Invest RM50 Million In Kenyir Lake Resort Project

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 (Bernama) -- The STG Group, developer of the Gold Coast Resorts projects, will be investing RM50 million in a lake holiday resort in Kenyir.

This development by the STG Group is its second in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).

The first is the RM10 million Gold Coast Kuantan resort with 99 apartment suites, with a view of the South China Sea.

"The Gold Coast Kenyir development will be unique. The project will comprise a hotel mall with shops, longhouses and bungalows built over Kenyir Lake's serene waters," STG chairman, Datuk Dr Alex Tan said in a statement today.

The Gold Coast Kenyir project will be rolled out in March 2010.

The STG Group is targeting to be listed by 2012.

-- BERNAMA

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Firefly Starts Terengganu-Singapore Flights July 14

June 10, 2009 19:43 PM

Firefly Starts Terengganu-Singapore Flights July 14

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 10 (Bernama)-- The economy and the tourist industry in the state will get a boost when low-cost carrier Firefly Sdn Bhd (Firefly) begins flights from here to Singapore on July 14.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said there would be three flights a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

"With the flights more tourists will come to Kuala Terengganu. Before going to the islands or lakes they could spend money here and this will increase income of businesses and boost Terengganu's economy," he said at a briefing by Firefly by its managing director Eddy Leong here Wednesday.

Ahmad said each flight could carry 70 passengers, took 20 minutes and the fare was RM88 one-way.

He said the state government would provide subsidies to the carrier including passenger tax, landing tax and parking tax in efforts to encourage more outgoing flights.

"We have plans for Terengganu-Guangzhou, China flights," he said.

Leong said for the cheap fare passengers have to make bookings 30 days in advance as the normal Kuala Terengganu-Singapore fare was RM120.

Last year, Terengganu received 3.5 million tourists most of them from Singapore.

ECER Projects To Spur Mersing's Development

ECER Projects To Spur Mersing's Development

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Bernama) -- Mersing will be developed as a tourism destination and gateway to the Mersing group of islands under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) master plan.

In a statement today, the ECER Development Council's chief executive officer, Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said five projects had been identified under the ECER master plan and which are expected to stimulate Mersing's economy by 2020.

He said, according to the ECER master plan, Mersing had great potential for ecotourism, mainland coastal tourism and island tourism.

"To increase entrepreneurial opportunities, several social and human capital development initiatives will be introduced. These ECER projects are interrelated and will enhance the region's dynamism," he said.

Mersing's coastal area will be transformed into an integrated tourism destination through the development of coastal resorts and hotels, a new commercial business area as well as a jetty complex for island hopping activities.

The project will involve land reclamation of about 2,000 acres on the seafront side of Mersing Town, to be developed as an integrated resort featuring waterfront homes, hotels as well as a new commercial and business area.

A new jetty complex has also been proposed to house a passenger ferry jetty, a fishing jetty and a marina.

Mersing town,the established gateway for the Mersing group of islands as well as Pulau Tioman in Pahang, boasts of many attractive, unspoiled beaches along its coastline.

It is also the main ecotourism gateway for the Endau Rompin National Park.

-- BERNAMA

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Canon Eyes 29 Percent Growth From ECER States

May 29, 2009 16:02 PM

Canon Eyes 29 Percent Growth From ECER States


KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (Bernama) -- Japanese imaging company, Canon, expects 29 percent growth from the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) states as a measure of its confidence in the region's economic development.

"The east coast states are beginning to show economic development, reminiscent of the west coast some 20 years ago," said Canon Marketing Malaysia president/chief executive officer, Liew Sip Chon, in a statement released by ECER secretariat here today.

He said Canon expected Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan to be the next engine of growth in Peninsular Malaysia.

Canon had earlier announced it expected RM22 million in sales of its products from the east coast states this year.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Malaysian state fund to sell 5 bln ringgit bonds

UPDATE 1-Malaysian state fund to sell 5 bln ringgit bonds

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 (Reuters) - The Terengganu Investment Authority, the investment arm of a Malaysian state, is to sell 5 billion ringgit ($1.40 billion) of bonds guaranteed by the federal government this week, it said in a statement on Monday.

The fund has been set up and labelled as Malaysia's first sovereign wealth fund and is modelled on similar concepts in the Gulf with the aim of investing oil revenues for the long term.

The fund said it would invest in tourism, energy and agriculture in the state, which is one of Malaysia's poorest, and would team up with sovereign wealth funds to invest.

"This week will see the sovereign wealth fund raising 5 billion ringgit from the capital markets on the back of a government guarantee," the authority said in a statement.

The fund said that investors would be "sourced from domestic and foreign capital markets" although it did not give any details on the state's oil revenues which will be used to securitise the bond.

Goldman Sachs has been advising the fund on capital raising.

The federal government and the state had been at loggerheads over the oil revenues, paid by Malaysia's Petronas, when the opposition took the control of the poor northeastern state in elections in 1999.

The federal government only started repaying money directly to the state in 2004 after it passed back into the hands of the National Front coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years.

There is no firm data on the amount of money the state receives each year, although the state assembly was told last year that 7.364 billion ringgit was channeled to the state from the federal government in the three years to March 2007.

No one from the investment authority was immediately available for comment on the oil royalty revenues.

$1=3.566 Malaysian Ringgit)

Reporting by Razak Ahmad; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Liau Y-Sing)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Kenaf tipped to replace tobacco

Tuesday April 28, 2009
Kenaf tipped to replace tobacco
Commodities Talk - By Hanim Adnan

THE quest for Malaysia’s next golden industrial crop has been endless since the success of oil palm, rubber and to a certain extent cocoa, pepper and tobacco.

Kenaf and jatropha have been the most talked about candidates so far.

Many would agree that kenaf seems to stand out prominently in the eyes of the Government given the amount of incentives, funding and the involvement of many government agencies like the Malaysian Timber Board, the National Tobacco Board and MARDI in undertaking intensive research and development (R&D) work on the crop.


The kenaf plant ... some RM36mil has been allocated under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the crop's planting

Todate, some RM35mil has been allocated under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for kenaf planting.

More recently, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation endorsed Malaysia’s initiative by agreeing to test the commercial use of kenaf via funding from the Netherlands-based Common Funds for Commodities.

Kenaf, scientifically known as hibiscus cannabinus, is a jute-like plant from the hibiscus family that can be used as a raw material to make a multitude of products like high quality paper, bicomposites for automotive door trimmings and interior shelving, bioplastics industry, building materials like medium-density fibreboards and even high protein animal feed.

In fact, kenaf planting is heavily promoted by the Government as an alternative crop for the less competitive local tobacco farmers to consider in the advent of the Afta.

The Afta, which comes into effect in 2010, could result in lower prices and a reduction in import duties for tobacco.

Afta, to a certain extent, could negatively impact the competitiveness of Malaysian tobacco planters, whose cost of production is about RM10 per kg, almost doubled compared with their peers in Thailand and Indonesia.

It is also believed that the National Tobacco Board will help tobacco farmers integrate other crops with tobacco with the eventual goal to replace tobacco if planting it is no longer viable.

The East Corridor Economic Region (ECER) which covers Kelantan, Trengganu and Pahang todate has a combined allocation of 10,000ha to be planted with kenaf.

Sabah also aims to be a leading kenaf producer in the region, with the focus on processing kenaf into animal feed and fibre. It was reported that over 2,000ha have been earmarked to plant the crop.

But even as kenaf development gains momentum, many are still uncertain about the actual market demand for kenaf compared with jatropha, which is a globally accepted feedstock for biofuel.

Can tobacco farmers actually enjoy the same if not better income from kenaf?

The great task in hand now lies on the shoulders of the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board, which aims to export 50,000 tonnes or about RM15bil worth of kenaf annually from next year when Afta is enforced.


Hanim Adnan is assistant news editor at The Star. She believes kenaf cultivation can grow as big as oil palm and rubber.

ECER Projects For Terengganu On Track

May 03, 2009 21:35 PM

ECER Projects For Terengganu On Track

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) projects for Terengganu spanning tourism, manufacturing, petrochemical and agriculture industries are on track with the majority of them due to commence by year end.

ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John said infrastructure facilities for the projects had begun and that the ECER was collaborating closely with state governments to attract investors.

He said ECERDC officials had just returned from an investment mission to Europe with state officials, which focused on high growth areas such as tourism, manufacturing and the halal industry that would create employment.

"Work on 21 projects began in 2008, 11 more will start by mid year, another 10 before year end while the two final projects will take off next year," he said in a statement here today.

He added the ECER projects in Terengganu were gaining traction.

"Kertih Plastics Park, the country's first fully integrated plastics park is expected to be fully operational in 2015, attracting RM2 billion worth of investments and creating more than 7,000 jobs," he said.

On the manufacturing sector, Issace John said Kemaman would be developed as the state's heavy industry park with integrated facilities which include designated areas for manufacturing, boat building and repairs and free zones.

ECER has also adopted a farm-to-table model for its agriculture programmes which encompass cultivating seeds to farming, processing, packaging and marketing both locally and internationally, he said.

Issace John added that ECER was collaborating with various government agencies to conduct seminars and trainings to increase Bumiputera participation in commercial and industrial initiatives.

"Among the initiatives lined up for implementation this year include a collaboration with Perbadanan Nasional Berhad to introduce a franchise development programme to cultivate at least 50 franchises in Terengganu," he said.

-- BERNAMA

ECER Enters UK Halal Market

ECER Enters UK Halal Market

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Bernama) -- Four halal product entrepreneurs from the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) have successfully penetrated the fast growing United Kingdom (UK) halal market.

The companies are Muslim Best Food Industries, GTHerb Industries, Maduria Industries and RMZ Marketing.

The companies are exploring the export of food and beverage products to the UK through the Malaysia Trading House, which is operating in London, the ECER secretariat said in a statement today.

The Malaysia Trading House, initiated by Konsortium Usahawan Makanan dan Industri Asas Tani Sdn Bhd (Komita), is a one-stop trading centre displaying an array of quality halal products from Malaysia.

"The UK halal market offers huge opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs, as more Muslim and non-Muslim consumers here, are buying halal products from supermarket chains and other outlets," said Komita's chairman, Sheikh Ahmad Dusuki Sheikh Mohamad.

In response to the increasing demand for halal products, Sheikh Ahmad said that Malaysia Trading House provides the platform for local halal entrepreneurs to enter and explore the UK and European market.

"Through this initiative, we aim to become a leading halal supermarket in London, as well as in Europe," he added.

Located in the historic Borough district in central London, the Malaysia Trading House is promoting products from 52 Malaysian companies, ranging from halal food and beauty products, to household and craft items.

The UK halal market is worth around 2.8 billion pounds (1.00 = RM5.39).

There are two million Muslims in the UK but according to the UK Food Safety Authority, there are six million consumers of halal food nationwide.

According to Sheikh Ahmad, Komita also plans to open similar trading houses in Casablanca, Morocco, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Under the ECER master plan, Pasir Mas and Pengkalan Chepa in Kelantan, Chendering in Terengganu and Gambang in Pahang, have been identified for development as halal parks.

-- BERNAMA

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

M'sia East Coast Economic Region Courts German Investors

April 27, 2009 12:37 PM

M'sia East Coast Economic Region Courts German Investors

By Manik Mehta

FRANKFURT, April 27 (Bernama) -- Representatives of Malaysia's East Coast Economic Region Development Council, who were recently part of a 70-member strong Malaysian business delegation on a visit to Germany, made a strong pitch before a large audience of potential German investors and invited them to avail of the "incredible business opportunities" available to them in Malaysia's east coast.

"We have earmarked a huge outlay of some RM15 billion (about US$4.1 billion) over the next 15 years. Half of the allocations will be spent for infrastructure development while the other half from the private sectoris to develop a number of industries," said Datuk Jebasingam Issace John, chief executive officer of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council, in an interview with Bernama in Frankfurt.

"We are looking at all approaches and programmes to accelerate the region's development firom five per cent to 7 per cent of the national gross domestic product and in the process expect to create half-a-million new jobs by 2020," he said.

He listed a number of areas where the ECER was inherent with good business potential. The attractive features of Kuantan Palm Oil Industrial Park, Pekan Automotive Industrial Park, Pahang Technology Park, Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park, Halal Park, Kuantan Palm Oil Industrial Park, Kertih Plastics Park were highlighted before the investor audience.

Because of the imbalance in the development between the east and west coasts of the country, the Malaysian government's strategy is to develop logistics infrastructure, including ports, airports, roads and highways which will make shipments and distribution easier.

The private sector would concentrate on developing oil, gas and petrochemicals, resource-based manufacturing industries, tourism, agriculture and education, he said.

One of the "most important projects," according to Jebasingam, is development of the Kuantan Port which will offer connectivity to two billion people in the Asia-Pacific region.

The port recorded a throughput of 10 million tonnes in 2008 and has projected it to grow to 30 million tonnes in 2020.

"Kuantan Port is also being developed to accommodate larger vessels of the current generation. The expansion is being done to facilitate oil and gas shipments and other commodities, mainly, to Asean markets.

"We are also developing a free trade zone and a transshipment hub for the automotive cluster in the Pekan Automotive Industrial Park," he said.

Jebasingam said the ongoing global recession might take longer than a year but emphasised that Malaysia would be spared "because of our regulatory controls that are in place to manage the banks".

Malaysia's Central Bank, he said, was doing a "good job" whereas in Europe and elsewhere there was a "free for all" with little or virtually no controls.

"Thus Malaysia has a better chance of getting out of the recession ...we don't have a credit crunch," he added.

-- BERNAMA

Sunday, May 3, 2009

RM130mil varsity project in Kelantan to go on

Monday May 4, 2009
RM130mil varsity project in Kelantan to go on

JELI: The university and polytech-nics planned for Kelantan will be implemented as scheduled, the global economic crisis notwithstanding, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said.

The RM130mil University Malay-sia Kelantan (UMK) campus project, approved in 2007, is one of 20 universities approved nationwide.

“The Government cannot afford to stop the projects as doing so would affect the educational needs of the people,” he said yesterday, after visiting victims of a fire that razed 11 hou-ses and shoplots at Air Lanas here.

Mustapa, the Jeli MP, added that the UMK complex, to replace the temporary campus in Pangkalan Chepa, would be built on a 232ha land in Tangok, Bachok.

Infrastructure projects in rural areas for roads, village development and flood mitigation will also continue as scheduled. “These projects are important and if there is a need to increase the allocation, the Government will consider it,” said Mustapa.

He said several big projects were also underway, such as the second Sultan Yahya Petra in Kota Baru costing RM150mil and the new Kota Baru-Kuala Terengganu and Jalan Selising-Tok Bok roads.

“They are important to boost economic activities,” he added. A total of 1,500 houses were also being built in Jeli for the poor.

- The Star -

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buy Malaysia Products Campaign Helps Traders

April 30, 2009 14:49 PM

Buy Malaysia Products Campaign Helps Traders

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 30 (Bernama) -- For entrepreneurs and traders of small medium enterprises (SMEs), the Buy Malaysian Campaign 2009 which took place here recently, provided an opportunity for them to introduce their respective products.

Generally, the campaign brought many new changes; in particular, encouraging consumers to buy local products, whose quality matched that of overseas brands.

Apart from hoping to dispel consumer prejudice towards local products, the campaign among others, is also aimed at boosting the local economy.

All the entrepreneurs met during the campaign, which ended on April 27, welcomed it, and hoped it could be held from time to time to enable consumers to better view local products, which are also priced more cheaply.

The five-day campaign from April 23 saw 109 booths selling various products including foodstuff, health products, clothes and stationery.

Global Factor Sdn Bhd director Nor'aini Rusmin said through the campaign, she was not only able to introduce her products but also save on costs from the aspect of advertising.

"We cannot aford to take out big advertisments and an expo such as this, helps introduce our products," she said of her company which produces stationery under the brand, Kedidi.

Nor'Aini, who runs the business with her husband Ab Razak Azhari, said they established a factory 13 years ago to produce their products.

She said the idea of opening the stationery company started when her husband realised that there were no Bumiputera traders as yet in this line of business.

She said the factory produces various products such as markers, pens, and files and these were sold by the company itself while being also distributed to suppliers.

"We began the business in Selangor. Then, we purchased about a hectare of land at Kampong Soi in Kuantan and built the factory. We have been there ever since," she explained.

According to Nor'Aini, her company frequently participates in expos held throughout the country if invited, such as at the Amanah Saham Week in Johor recently.

The public who came for the expo in Terengganu was attracted to the health products such as the first herbal health mattress in the world, produced by a local entrepreneur.

Durjaa Health Care manager, S.Siva, said his company based in Selama, Perak began producing the herbal mattress two years ago.

He said what is interesting about the mattress is that, it is made from noni, inai, betel leaves, pandan and senduduk, which helps overcome stress, internal body aches, back pain and such.

"Sleep is a time of rest and very important for a human being. So, using the herbal mattress, helps overcome the feeling of discomfort and restores a weak body to health," he said.

He said the expo had helped introduce his company's product to the people of Terengganu and the east coast in general.

"The people of Terengganu and Kelantan had previously known about the herbal mattress. So, with this expo, they were able to get to know the product better. Many visited our booth from the time we opened," he said.

Siva said his company had no branch here but those who wished to place an order for the herbal mattress can do so by contacting 016-5160400 or 1-800-88-5858.

ABB Jaya Enterprise, a company manufacturing various types of clothing and t-shirts, also participated in the programme here. The company expressed satisfaction with the response of the people towards its products.

ABB Jaya Enterprise manager, Anuar Bidin said the company was based in Taman Safiah Murni, Bukit Payong, Marang. It had a sales centre in Simpang Tok Ku here and in Kampung Durian Penjara, Marang.

He said the company, which started operations eight years ago, was prepared to receive orders for stitching and embroidery as well as fabric based products.

Anuar said that the expo held was very good as it exposed his products, which previously were not that well, known by the public.

"I am happy that the people were interested in the embroidery exhibition staged by us while viewing the corporate attire on display," he said.

Meanwhile, the director of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Terengganu, Mohd Hilmi Mohd Noor said the response to the expo was very encouraging.

"We only provided for 100 booths in the beginning, but with the good response from entrepreneurs and retailers, we increased it to 109," he said.

He also stated that the participants at the expo were not just from Terengganu but also all over the country, with no fee being imposed.

About 50,000 people thronged the expo throughout the five days it was staged and the sale of products displayed was also encouraging.

The Buy Malaysia Campaign should therefore not be ended as it is hoped that consumers would purchase local products.

While encouraging the consumers, the government should also try and find a way to enhance the patriotic spirit among entrepreneurs.

Awareness, as to the importance of the Buy Malaysia campaign, should be inculcated in them.

Don't allow consumers who have spiritedly embraced the government's call, to become victims of entrepreneurs in search of profits, by any means.

-- BERNAMA

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pahang Allocated RM808.4 Mil Under 2nd Stimulus Package - Adnan

Pahang Allocated RM808.4 Mil Under 2nd Stimulus Package - Adnan

KUANTAN, April 23 (Bernama) -- Pahang has been allocated RM808.4 million under the RM60 billion second stimulus package to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, the state legislative assembly was told today.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the state government received RM256.3 million under the RM7 billion first stimulus package for the same purpose.

With the allocations, all the projects planned have been implemented, he said when replying to Ibrahim Awang Ismail (BN-Peramu Jaya) who queried the state government on pre-emptive measures taken to mitigate effects of the economic downturn.

Earlier, State Executive Councillor for Information, Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Sharkar Shamsudin said the state government was committed to develop infrastructure facilities to woo private sector participation in biotechnology development in the state.

A 248.6-hectare site has been identified in Gambang to develop "Gambang Science Park" he said, adding the state government had also drawn up the Pahang Biodiversity-Biotechnology Masterplan.

The masterplan spells out several strategies that should be implemented by the public and private sectors to ensure success of the plan, he said when replying to Datuk Pang Tsu Ming (BN-Semambu) who asked on biotechnology development in the state.

To a supplementary question from Pang on initiatives to develop a Bio-Informatic Data Centre, Sharkar said the state government also planned to establish a database that would gather all information on research and development to be used as reference.

-- BERNAMA

Rid Loyalty To Foreign Products, Says Ismail Sabry

April 25, 2009 20:00 PM

Rid Loyalty To Foreign Products, Says Ismail Sabry

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 25 (Bernama) -- Malaysians were today urged to stop being too loyal to foreign goods, but buy local products instead which have found acceptance throughout the world.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob said they should rid of their prejudice against local products as the quality was about the same as foreign goods.

He regretted the preception that imported goods were always better than locally-produced goods as this could cause problems for the country.

"We must get rid of the thinking that we've got more class if we wear imported branded items," he said after launching the trade expo in conjunction with the state-level "Buy Malaysian" campaign at the Terengganu Trade Centre, here, Saturday.

Ismail Sabri said Malaysians must have a nationalistic spirit like the Japanese and Koreans have towards their own products.

He said as Malaysians, they should be proud of local products as many Malaysian-made products had penetrated the international market and gained recognition for their quality.

"In South Korea, it's a shame for the people if one were to own a foreign-made car.

"Japan and the United States have instilled nationalistic values in their people so that they favour local products. This spirit should also be inculcated among Malaysians in support of the 'Buy Malaysian' campaign," he said.

On another development, Ismail Sabri said the government would launch a customer-friendly campaign for traders if there was a need for it.

"There have been complaints about unfriendly traders and we will discuss the matter with the traders associations whether such a campaign is necessary."

On the Buy Malaysian Campaign 2009, he said the campaign would continue nationwide to create public awareness on the importance of buying local products to spur the domestic economy.

The campaign in Terengganu from April 23 to 27 is the eighth in the series which will end in Sarawak in October.

-- BERNAMA

ECER Push For Tourism Through Malaysia's Largest Pheasant Sanctuary

ECER Push For Tourism Through Malaysia's Largest Pheasant Sanctuary

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) is host to the largest pheasant sanctuary in Malaysia, as part of its efforts to promote tourism.

The 1.7-acre Ajil Pheasant Park has been certified by the Malaysian Book of Records as the country's largest pheasant sanctuary and breeding farm. It is located along the road to Kuala Berang and the Kenyir Lake.

The park has 38 pheasant species out of a known 49 in the world, including the endangered Green Peafowl, which was last spotted on the Besut coast in 1958.

The ECER secretariat said in a statement Thursday that Oh Siong Lai, the park operator, started the venture as a hobby.

"At the farm, we are breeding the Green Peafowl and currently working with the Terengganu state government, to re-introduce the birds back into their natural habitat," Oh said.

According to Oh, the pheasants which are among the most beautiful birds in the world, are attracting local and foreign tourists alike.

He explained that most of the pheasants at the park were imported from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

A school teacher, he said plans are afoot to expand the park to house several small mammals like foxes and porcupines, to complement the deer and several species of monkeys.

He also intends to create a herb garden within the park for study and research.

"However, these plans are still very preliminary as the current cost of maintaining the park, exceeds the collection from entrance fees," he said.

-- BERNAMA

Call For Systematic Approach To Community-based Tourism

April 20, 2009 13:25 PM

Call For Systematic Approach To Community-based Tourism

SANDAKAN, April 20 (Bernama) -- Community-based tourism, said to be an effective poverty reduction and wealth distribution tool, requires systematic and sustainable approaches instead of ad hoc methods, Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng said today.

He said the long-term viability of community-based tourism projects, which required careful planning, commitment and perseverance, was a prime concern.

"Appropriate policy interventions and physical infrastructure should be in place to ensure community-based tourism is developed in a sustainable manner.

"Community capacity building should also be initiated and a collective vision of what the community aspires to be and how it will progress and supports itself are some of the issues that need to be resolved," he said when opening the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Conference on Community-based Tourism, here.

The four-day conference is being attended by 65 delegates, 12 of them from Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Dr Ong said community-based tourism was gradually becoming a mainstream development tool and was extensively being used in the planning and development of Malaysia's new economic corridors such as the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), Iskandar Malaysia and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

He said community-based tourism brought direct economic benefits to local communities and helped in poverty reduction, apart from empowering local women and youths.

"Moreover, the experiential nature of community-based tourism, which contains a high level of educational elements, is becoming increasingly popular with both foreign and domestic tourists," he added.

Dr Ong said the homestay programme in Malaysia was a form of community-based tourism which aimed to encourage tourists to experience the village way of life.

He said that due to the potential of homestay programmes in providing additional income and employment, the number of providers in Malaysia had increased and, up to 2008, there were 138 homestay facilities nationwide involving 3,183 participants since the programme was launched in 1995.

"This programme has lately been given special emphasis by the Ministry of Tourism and, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, a total of RM40 million has been allocated to the ministry for upgrading infrastructure and facilities in participating villages," he added.

-- BERNAMA

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RM15 Million For Hulu Kelantan From Stimulus Package

April 19, 2009 23:12 PM

RM15 Million For Hulu Kelantan From Stimulus Package

KUALA KRAI, April 19 (Bernama) -- The government has allocated RM15 million from the economic stimulus package for the South Kelantan Development Authority (Kesedar) to carry out development projects in three regions in the state.

Kesedar chairman Datuk Ramzi Ab Rahman said 62 small development projects were for the Kuala Krai region, 53 for Jeli and 14 for Gua Musang.

He said some of the projects like the construction of farm and village roads, madrasah and surau in the three areas had already begun, while Kesedar was also carrying out several projects under the People's Prosperity Development Scheme.

Ramzi was met by reporters after launching an inter-department aerobics programme and sports event here today, organised by Kesedar, Federal Development Office and the district's Youth and Sports Department, involving about 800 civil servants.

He said the Kuala Krai Kesedar Region was allocated more than RM150,000 in the form of educational grants for 56 schools, including eight state-run religious schools.

-- BERNAMA

Unease over wealth funds

April 20, 2009
Unease over wealth funds

Terengganu investment fund to be set up using borrowed money, not existing capital
By Leslie Lopez, Senior Regional Correspondent

Oil-rich Terengganu is planning to establish a multibillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, but it is causing unease among businessmen and government officials as Malaysia's economic crisis deepens.

KUALA LUMPUR - OIL-rich Terengganu is planning to establish a multibillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, but it is causing unease among businessmen and government officials as Malaysia's economic crisis deepens.

The chief bugbear is that the planned RM10 billion (S$4.1 billion) fund, which is to be managed by the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), will be created using borrowed money and not existing capital held by the Terengganu state, said bankers and government officials.

'To turn in a profit, the fund must ensure a return higher than the cost of its borrowing, and there will be the pressure to go into risky investments to get better returns,' said a chief executive of a state-controlled bank, who asked not to be named.



A senior TIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Straits Times that governance issues and rules that will determine how the fund will invest its money are being hammered out ahead of the planned year-end launch.

'It (the fund) is still being cooked and we want to model (it) along the lines of Mudabala,' he said, referring to Abu Dhabi's highly reputable sovereign wealth fund.

Detractors of the proposed fund point out that the Mudabala investment model was not established on borrowed money.

The TIA is proposing to raise RM5 billion through a bond issue that will be guaranteed against future earnings the state will receive in royalties from national oil corporation Petronas for oil and gas extracted from Terengganu territory.

Another RM5 billion will be raised through a separate bond issue that will be guaranteed by the federal government.

'We are in the final stages of finalising the government guarantee and we are deciding on how to draw down on the facility,' said the TIA official.

Many analysts worry that the federal government's green light for TIA and its backing for the fund through financial guarantees could prompt other oil-producing states such as Sabah and Sarawak to demand funds of their own.

'With all the spending that the government has to undertake to stimulate the economy, funds like TIA's and others will only stretch the government's finances further,' said Mr Jason Chong of UOB-OSK Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur.

- Straits Times -

ECER Eyes European Core Mart

ECER Eyes European Core Mart

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) is looking to enhance trade and investment among European investors during its mission to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Led by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry ( MITI), the mission will focus on the region's core business of oil, gas and petrochemicals, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

ECER in a statement said some noteworthy projects would be promoted by the investment mission from April 19-29.

Amongst the projects are the Kertih Plastics Park, the Gambang Halal Park, the Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park, the Pekan-Peramu Automotive Industrial Park, the Palm Oil Industry Park and the Intergrated Poultry Park.

According to ECER, Germany was an important source of Malaysia's foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2008, with investments of RM4.4 billion when compared with RM3.7 billion the previous year.

Meanwhile, Italy remained Malaysia's fifth largest trading partner within the European Union.Bilateral trade between both countries amounted to US$2.22 billion in the first 11 months of 2008.

The United Kingdom is also one of the largest investors in Malaysia, with over 20 billion in investments over the past 30 years.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Political storm looks to be brewing in Terengganu

Wednesday April 15, 2009
Political storm looks to be brewing in Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU: A political storm is brewing in Terengganu after 10 Barisan Nasional assemblymen stayed away from the second sitting of the State Assembly yesterday.

The official reason given was that they feared for their safety after three of them claimed to have received death threats via SMS.


Unoccupied: Backbencher Nawi Mohamad (BN – Hulu Besut) sitting among the empty chairs as 10 of his colleagues decided to stay away from the State Assembly sitting yesterday. On the right are exco members Rozi Mamat (front) and Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar.

However, there were also suggestions that they were staging a boycott in apparent protest against the leadership of Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said.

In the past week, talk had been rife that the Barisan assemblymen would move a motion of no-confidence against Ahmad when the assembly convened on Monday.

Ahmad had earlier warned the assemblymen not to table such a motion against him as this could taint the image of the state Barisan.

He also threatened to sack those who defied his order.

State Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid said the 10 assemblymen – all backbenchers – decided to stay away from the assembly because of “safety factors” after alleged death threats were received yesterday morning.

“We are not boycotting the assembly. We decided to gather at a hotel because we are very afraid,” he said at the hotel.

He claimed that all 10 had applied for leave.

The three who claimed to have received death threats, said to have originated from Ahmad’s private secretary Wan Ahamad Wan Muda, were Rosol, Paka assemblyman Zakaria Ariffin and Permaisuri assemblyman Halim Jusoh.

Wan Ahamad later denied sending the SMS and lodged a police report at the state police headquarters.

One of the assemblymen, who declined to be named, however, said that there was a boycott of the assembly.

“The Mentri Besar should resign. We do not intend to table a motion of no-confidence against him at the assembly but he should get the message that he is not favoured by Barisan assemblymen,” he said.

Besides Rosol, Zakaria and Halim, the others who stayed away were Tepoh assemblyman Muhammad Ramli Noh, Mohd Zawawi Ismail (Kuala Berang), Datuk Din Adam (Bukit Besi), Alias Abdullah (Alor Limbat), Ramlan Ali (Jabi) and Mohd Pehimi Yusof (Kota Putera).

Muhammad Ramli later said that all 10 would attend the sitting today.

There are 13 backbenchers and 10 exco members, including Ahmad, in the assembly. The Opposition has eight members, all of them from PAS.

All Opposition members, including PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, were present.

Despite the boycott, the assembly, however, continued as usual.

Ahmad, when approached by reporters during a break, said he was shocked that the assemblymen had resorted to such action.

“I will contact them to find out why they did this. As Mentri Besar, it is my duty to find out the rationale of the 10 for doing this,” he said.

When asked about the death threats sent to three representatives via SMS, Ahmad said he had no knowledge of it.

Ahmad’s appointment as Mentri Besar after the 2008 general election was controversial from the beginning as it was not the original choice of the Barisan, which had chosen former mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

Ahmad was, however, sworn in and then prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi later said that the Barisan would accept him as Mentri Besar.

STAR

Terengganu plans direct flights to woo more Singaporeans

Wednesday April 15, 2009
Terengganu plans direct flights to woo more Singaporeans

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government is confident about starting direct flights between here and Singapore.

State Tourism, Culture, Art and Heritage Com­mittee chairman Datuk Zaabar Mohd Adib said talks between the Transport Ministry and its Singapore counterpart had been positive.

“It will certainly be a boom for our tourism industry as Singapore tourists are the most treasured group,” he told The Star.

He added that by having the route, Singa­poreans would not be burdened by making transit stops in Kuala Lumpur.

Zaabar said low-cost carrier FireFly was interested to service the route and the state government anticipated that Singapore operators would also start flights.

“Singaporeans make up the bulk of tourists to Terengganu and direct flights could increase their numbers three-fold,” he said.

“Singapore is our traditional market and we are now intensifying our promotion to woo more people to make Terengganu their favourite holiday destination.”

Zaabar said Terengganu Fest would be promoted in Singapore in the next few months and the new Terengganu Zoo in Kemaman, dubbed the largest recreational concept zoo in the country, would form part of the package.

He said facilities at islands off Terengganu would be enhanced to attract Singaporeans.

Kertih Park on track to be hub for Asia-Pacific market

2009/04/10

Kertih Park on track to be hub for Asia-Pacific market

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Kertih Plastic Park is poised to become a global benchmark under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) initiative by 2015.

ECER chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John told the New Straits Times that the country's first fully integrated plastics park, has the potential to emulate the success of the Dow Value Park in Germany.

KPP is expected to be fully operational in 2015, attracting RM2 billion worth of investments and creating more than 7,000 jobs.

An Internet search on the park states that in 1995, the Dow Chemical Company took over economic responsibility for several chemical sites that became the start of a restructuring process, which was unique in the history of the chemical industry.

The park in Germany which is a hub for the chemical, polymer and plastic industry is considered one of the world's best, in terms of industry practices, facilities, plant management, industry standards and its capacity in attracting investors.

"And that is the direction we want the KPP to head. In Germany, the park is a hub for the European market, but Kertih is well positioned to take care of the Asia-Pacific market which has two billion people.

"We are on the right track," he said after a briefing for Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said on ECER developments here.

Earlier, Ahmad had revealed that 31 projects under the initiative in the state have been approved while RM10.8 billion in investments have poured in.

The ECER team will be joining the International Trade and Industry Ministry on an investment trade mission to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom later this month to promote among others the KPP, the Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park, the ECER handicraft industry and the Pahang Technology Park.

Pekan Sees Vast Economic Changes With Najib At Helm

April 03, 2009 20:50 PM

Pekan Sees Vast Economic Changes With Najib At Helm

PEKAN, April 3 (Bernama) -- Once a small town with its economic activities limited to agriculture and small industries, Pahang's royal town of Pekan today has a growing industrial sector as well.

The town today also recorded history for having two of its Members of Parliament as the prime ministers of the country -- the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the Pekan MP who became the second Prime Minister of Malaysia and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia Friday morning.

The first time Pekan tasted fame was when Tun Abdul Razak was elected the country's prime minister in 1970.

More than three decades later, his eldest son, Najib, took oath for the same office, replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Pekan, which in the past was relatively left behind in terms of development compared with other districts in Pahang, however has seen much changes in the recent years especially following the appointment of Najib as Deputy Prime Minister in 2004.

Currently, the economic activities in the fourth largest district of Pahang, with a size of 380,500 hectares and a population of 120,000, cover not only agriculture and cottage industries but also includes a growing industrial sector boosted by foreign investments.

In line with Najib's aim to establish Pekan as an automotive hub, he is said to have successfully attracted world renowned automobile assembly companies to invest in Pekan and these include the producers of Isuzu from Japan and Mercedes Benz from Germany.

The District Officer of Pekan, Datuk Mohd Basik Mohd. Ali said an industrial zone covering 1,000 hectares in size was created in Peramu Jaya here for the setting up of auto assembly plants which now provide more than 4,000 job opportunities for locals.

Mohd Basik said the existence of the factories in the zone have also helped to stop the migration of locals especially the younger generation to the urban areas.

What is something to be even more proud of is that the automobile companies have also acknowledged that the automobiles produced in Pekan are better than those produced in their own countries, he said.

"This proves that the companies involved are also acknowledging the work of the Pekan people directly involved in the production of the vehicles," he told Bernama in an interview.

Meanwhile, two automobile producers, namely Chevvy from China and Volkswagen from Germany have also expressed their interest to invest in Pekan and negotiations are now at the final stages, he said.

If these plans become a reality, they would create another 3,000 employment opportunities for the locals.

The idea to develop Pekan as an automotive hub was already on board before the launch of the East Coast Economic Region in October 2007, and under the ECER development plan, Pekan was categorised as an automotive hub in view of its vast growth in the area of vehicle assembling.

Another upcoming project in Pekan is the Oil, Gas and Maritime Industrial Park in Tanjong Agas. The project was recently launched in Kuala Lumpur by the Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Mohd Basik said the project successfully attracted an investment of RM6 billion with the majority of it coming from foreign investors.

"Several investors have signed the Memorandum of Understanding and they are expected to begin the project soon," he said.

The industrial park will involve an area of 1,639 hectares.

"Todate, a total of 640 hectares to 800 hectares of land have been handed over to the investors and the whole area is expected to be leased by the investors in two years time," he said.

The project is expected to be completed in three to four years and RM2 billion has been allocated for the provision of infrastructure facilities.

A local company, Tanjong Agas Supply Base & Marine Services Sdn Bhd (TASBMS) will be operating the park.

Mohd Basik said the industrial park will become the first such modern one-stop centre for the martime, oil and gas industry in Pahang and probably in Malaysia as well.

It will be divided into several sections and will have among others designated areas for recovery and maintenance of ships, fabrication, petroleum terminal, factory sites, town centre, residential as well as commercial centres.

"This project will start to generate income for Pahang state as soon as work on the infrastructure development starts including the provision of jobs for 4,000 people in the initial stage," he said.

The mega project is expected to transform Pekan in the next five years and certainly with the appointment of Najib as Prime Minister, more development can be expected in this district.

-- BERNAMA

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tioman airport extension off

Tioman airport extension off

Sun, Mar 08, 2009
The Star/Asia News Network
By SIMON KHOO

KUANTAN, Malaysia: The proposal to build a new RM120mil ($49.99 mil) airport on Tioman Island for bigger aircraft has been called off, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said.

Ong said the ministry decided this recently after considering various factors, particularly the impact on the environment.

"I have personally gone through each and every report pertaining to the pros and cons of the project.

"We are instead proposing to upgrade the present airport to cater for ATR (turboprop) aircraft," he said after opening the Indera Mahkota MCA division new office here yesterday.

Ong said an allocation would be sought under the 10th Malaysia Plan for the new proposal.

"I would like to stress that the decision to cancel the project was due to the negative impact on the environment, particularly corals and marine life and not due to pressure from certain quarters."

He said a new environment impact assessment study would be carried out.

The construction of the new airport on reclaimed land in Kampung Paya, some 2km from Kampung Tekek, was supposed to have commenced in 2004.

However, the project drew strong protests from villagers and chalet operators in Kampung Paya, Kampung Genting and Kampung Mukut.

On another matter, Ong said the ministry would embark on a plan to rebrand Malaysia's many ports to enhance international competitiveness.

He said several had already make it to the top 20 international ranking such as Port Klang (West Port and North Port), Tanjung Pelepas, Penang, Kemaman-Kuantan and Bintulu.

"Port business is getting very competitive due to the emerging of many new ports in the region. We need to look at country rebranding to position our ports in the midst of international competition."

He said Kuantan Port had the potential to be listed in the top 20 and plans were in the pipeline to upgrade its facilities under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) masterplan.

"To attract bigger vessels to dock, a breakwater and capital dredging project must be carried out in Kuantan Port," he said, adding that he would personally go to the ground to expedite its development.

On party matters, Ong, who is also MCA president, said he would dedicate more of his time on his work instead of getting involved in party politicking.

"My comrades and the grassroots have been sending me text messages to cheer me up over the unpleasant developments in the party of late.

"They had given their reassurance they will stand solidly behind us - the leadership - to tide over the difficulties ahead." -The Star/ANN

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vanilla Producer Signs Buy-Back Agreement With Felda

March 17, 2009 15:25 PM

Vanilla Producer Signs Buy-Back Agreement With Felda

KUANTAN, March 17 (Bernama) -- Rentak Timur Sdn Bhd, a vanilla producer in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), has signed a buy-back agreement with Felda to extend its expertise in the farming of vanilla plants.

Its chief executive officer Syed Isa Syed Alwi said with the agreement, the company has the rights to buy back all the vanilla green beans from Felda settlers at a specified price before processing them into dried vanilla pods and other forms of finished products to be exported.

Syed Isa said to date, the company has established joint ventures with 150 contract farmers with more than 60 hectares of vanilla plant throughout the country.

"Under the contract farming, we will supply vanilla plants at between RM10 and RM14 each, depending on the quality and then buy back the harvest for between RM35 and RM50 per kg," he said in a statement today.

Syed Isa said with just 0.2 acre of land, 1,000 vanilla plants could be cultivated to generate an income of RM60,000 per year.

The company, he said, was targeting 3,000 to 5,000 farmers to participate in the project by next year.

The vanilla plant from Rentak Timur comes from the Vanilla Planifolia Andrews genus, which is known to be of high quality and suitable for commercial farming.

The company owns a greenhouse at Lanchang, Temerloh, that functions as a seedling and nursery centre for vanilla and can host about 200,000 plants at any one time.

Global demand for natural vanilla is estimated at 2,000 metric tonnes per year. It is a popular flavour used in desserts, cakes, confectionery, ice cream products and one of the main ingredients in perfumes, cigars and liquors.

-- BERNAMA

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kelantan's Housing Industry Still Doing Well

March 16, 2009 19:50 PM

Kelantan's Housing Industry Still Doing Well

KOTA BAHARU, March 16 (Bernama) -- The ongoing global economic lethargy already being felt in Malaysia is not expected to affect as badly Kelantan's residential property sector, says the Real Estate and Housing Development Authority (REHDA) Kelantan.

Its chairman, Sekarnor Che Omar said they were expecting to see up 40 percent sales for residential units at the 2009 Malaysia Property Exhibition (MAPEX 2009) from a total of 1,700 units worth RM210 million offered in the state.

"We expect to sell up to 510 units, which will be an increase from only 63 units sold last year during the MAPEX 2008 where the total units offered by developers exceeded 2,000 units," he told reporters here Monday.

He said that although the economy remained uncertain, many developers were still able to reap profits even if the margins were reduced.

Meanwhile, as an incentive at this year's MAPEX, first time buyers will be exempted from ownership transfer fee.

He said the state government was also loosening its conditions where Malay civil servants who are not from the state and who meet the conditions, can buy houses without the prior approval of the State Exco.

The two-day MAPEX 2009 will take off here on March 19 at the KB Mall shopping centre here.

Menteri Besar Kelantan Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is expected to officiate the event on the second day.

-- BERNAMA