KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 2012 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has wooed a whopping RM32.7 billion investment between 2007 and end-June, of which RM12 billion were received in the first half of this year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced Tuesday.
Najib said between January and June, ECER's tourism cluster accounted for the highest amount of investments, at about 55 per cent, followed by manufacturing at 31 per cent, agriculture eight per cent, five per cent in education and nearly one per cent in the services sector.
All these projects are expected to be implemented this year, Najib said in a statement after chairing the East Coast Economic Region Development Council's second council meeting today.
"Of the RM32.7 billion total investments achieved since 2007 to date, RM21.9 billion have already been received, creating 30,000 jobs, while contributing RM7 billion in Gross National Income (GNI)," said Najib, who is also the council's chairman.
The prime minister said the investment surge was backed by the progressive enhancement of infrastructures within the ECER economic corridor and aggressive investment promotions undertaken by the council in collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and the International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Najib said the ECER was well positioned to attract quality investors from diverse industries, which include world-class players from the highly-advanced biotechnology sector.
"This is a strong proof that the government s efforts in transforming ECER into becoming a developed region by 2020 is already starting to bear fruit.
"ECER is well on its way to narrowing the development gap that currently exists between the east coast and west coast regions.
"It has already cemented its position as a distinctive, dynamic and competitive investment destination on a global basis, said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.
The prime minister said all these developments certainly augured well for ECER as its population now enjoy better jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities resulting from the investments.
Among investments received between January and June are from the United States' Gevo Inc., which will build the world's first bioisobutanol factory worth RM1.65 billion, to be located within the Kertih BioPolymer Park (KBP) in Terengganu.
Gevo will be joining CJ Arkema, a joint-venture company between France's Arkema SA and South Korea's CJ Cheil Jedang Corporation, which is investing RM2 billion to develop the world's first bio-methionine plant in KBP.
Currently, the ECER Development Council has completed the infrastructure works at the site of CJ Arkema's bio-methionine facility in KBP and construction of the facility is expected to commence in the third quarter of this year.
Gevo's announcement came after the strategic collaboration between the Terengganu state government, BiotechCorp and ECER Development Council to develop 1,000 hectares of KBP as Asia's largest biorefinery complex.
The biorefinery complex at KBP is a major landmark as it is the first in Malaysia to utilise cellulosic feedstock to produce bioderivatives such as advanced carbohydrates, biochemicals, biomaterials, biofertilizers and active feed ingredient.
The biorefinery complex is expected to attract RM7 billion worth of investments and the total project is expected to generate a cumulative GNI of RM 20.4 billion by 2020 and produce 2,500 green-jobs for Malaysia.
In addition, Najib said Kelantan has received a major development boost with the proposed implementation of the Tok Bali Integrated Port project.
The project will be developed by the East Coast Terminal Sdn Bhd with a total investment of RM4.5 billion, which will transform Tok Bali into a logistics hub for fish-based industries, tourism and oil and gas sector, he added.