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Date [ 2014-04-01, 12:47 ]

With Iskandar Malaysia hogging the limelight it is easy to forget there are other corridors.

The Eaxt Coast will have tourism as a main drive.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) RamaniRathir = When Malaysia decided to switch into a very high gear for its economic development, it initiated a number of economic corridors. These were five in number and were drawn up under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. They were more or less spread all over  Malaysia so as to bridge development imbalances throughout the country. From the beginning the push for the corridors was supposed to come through public-private partnerships (PPP).

The East Coast Economic Region (ECER)

This covers the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, as well as the district of Mersing in Johor.
With an area measuring more than 66,000 sq km, the ECER covers more than half of Peninsular Malaysia. And has a population of about 3.9 million. This is14.5% of the total population of Malaysia.

The Master Plan was developed for the next 12 years with the emphasis of turning the region into a major international and local tourism destination, an exporter of resource based and manufactured products, a vibrant trading centre and an infrastructure and logistics hub.

The ECER’s distinctive natural resources, culture & heritage were deemed to be the region’s main assets.
It had the advantage of a strategic location, offering investors access to the vast markets of the Asia Pacific region and beyond, encompassing a vibrant market of about two billion people.

The area already has a well developed oil & gas industry. It has now matured to include petrochemical-based manufacturing and related-industries.

Human resourcestoo are important, and by 2020, the ECER will have over 4.9 million people, of which 1.92 million is expected to make up the total workforce. Add to this the lowercost of living here and new business ventures will be able to offer their products and services at lower prices, without compromising on quality.

The ECER coverage of such a vast land area, translates as the potential for vast real estate development and large scale commercial farming. Nestled in the corridor are various and diverse tourist attractions waiting to be developed. These are pristine forests, vast coastlines, clear coral islands, lakes and highlands. Plus a rich culture and history, unique to ECER gives it the human factor draw.

The traditional focus has been agriculture and while not neglecting it, can run in tandem with the development of the tourist draws.

Infrastructure is good with various existing sea ports, airports, railway and a network of highways linking it to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia and neighbouring countries. This positions the ECER as a logistics and transport hub for industries, allowing it to diversify its economic activities.
Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER)

The focus is on accelerating economic growth and elevating income levels, with the objective of becoming a world-class economic region by the year 2025. The northern states of Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak (districts of Hulu Perak, Kerian, Kuala Kangsar and LarutMatang-Selama) form the region, covering an area of 17,816 sq km.

The corridor leverages on the existing economic achievements of the region in electronics, tourism and agriculture, as well as its strategic location bordering Thailand and facing the Malacca Straits.

Four key thrust areas have been identified, namely agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and logistics. It
offers the following advantages to investors:

An Eco-System that has evolved over 40 years with abusiness community that is now in anadvanced stage of evolution, having dealt with large and small local and foreign organisations. This has caused both technical and business support ecosystems to become efficient enablers for private sector participations in NCER.

One spin-off has been the creation of a broad range of engineering-based baseline skills; and this has enabled the region to expand into new growth sectors such as LEDs, automotive, aerospace, machinery/automation, medical devices and biotechnology/ engineering-driven agriculture. Out of necessity then, the area has adapted the world class delivery standards to cater for the needs of multinational corporations.

NCER has been very successful as a regional enabler for private sector participation. By collaborative engagement, the presence of and efficient delivery system has been set up to support companies establish their operations and growth in here. Strong relationships have been established over the years between various government agencies and the private sector.

The 40-year evolution has also created a relevant workforce, due to theconstant engagement between the industry and academia. This has led to the setting up of Centres of Excellence to facilitate such collaborative efforts and made available a skilled and industry-relevant workforce that meets the demands of the various sectors in the corridor.

Being home to the second busiest airport and an equally active seaport in Malaysia, the logistics sector has been a key enabler of trade, with an entire established cluster of support services.

Currently the government is pumping in RM20 billion worth of infrastructure investments into NCER to improve international and regional connectivity. Among the key investments are the upgrading of the rail capacity via the Ipoh-Padang Besar Double Tracking project and the Second Penang Bridge which has just been opened this March, 2014.

Sabah Development Corridor (SDC)

As mentioned earlier, the Government’s aim is to let as many as possible have a share of the economic pie. Thus the SDC will cover the whole development of Sabah. Greater Kota Kinabaluwill serve as the main growth pole,with  six Strategic Development Areas (SDAs). These will complement the Greater Kota KinabaluIntiative.

These are the Bio-Triangle, Agro Marine Belt, Interior Food Valley, Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave, and Brunei Bay Integrated Development Area and Oil and Gas Clusters. The SDAs have specific fiscal incentives package for investors.

Based on the alignment with the national agenda under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs), the key focus areas of SDC are agriculture, tourism, logistics and manufacturing; oil, gas and energy; higher education and palm oil. Entry Point Projects (EPPs) with a target investment of RM77.5 billion by the year 2020 have been identified.It is hoped that this will help transform Malaysia into a high-income nation by the year 2020,

The SDC will also bank on its cultural heritage and natural beauty. This will therefore concentrate on developing the services industry and resource-based business ventures. Its location as a connecting point to the rapidly growing Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN GrowthArea(BIMP-EAGA) and to the capital cities and market in North East Asia, gives investors added advantages.

Oil and gas resources provide investors an opening into the petrochemical and gas industry. In recent years, the oil, gas and energy sector was the hive of much activity, with the commencement of various projects such as the Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT), Sabah Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP),Kimanis Power Plant (KPP) projects, a 30MW Geothermal power plant in Tawauand the Sabah Ammonia and Urea project (SAMUR) in Sipitang.
Sabah's fertile agricultural land, marine resources and forests offer great potential in resource-based manufacturing activities such as the timber and wood-based industries, food and agro-based as well as biotechnology industries. It should be realized, almost 30% of Malaysia's oil palm production comes from Sabah.
The SDC offers green field opportuuunities in human capital development, especially in environmental, natural resources and biotech-related industries. With direct air accessibility to many capital cities in Asia, Sabah can serve as an education and research centre in environmental and conservation studies. A start was made long ago with the Danum Valley Field Research Centre receiving research scientists in tropical rainforest from all over the world.
Today’s buzz words are biodiversity which can be turned into eco-attractions.With more than 2,000 flora species, Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's tallest peak, pristine national parks and conservation areas as well as access to the world renowned Coral Triangle andSipadan island, Sabah's natural attractions is second to none.Mount Kinabalu has the distinction of being listed as an UNESCO heritage site.

Along with the above mentioned tourist attractions, another strong pull will be the state’s cultural appeal.   
Known to be home to 32 ethnic groups, its culture is distinct and unique. The multi-cultural environment will be an irresistible drawcard for the tourism industry.

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)

This is one of the five regional development corridors being developed in the state and thus is major undertaker in the development of the Central Region.

The core of the corridor is energy resources,particularly hydropower (28,000 MW), coal (1.46 billion tones), and natural gas (40.9 trillion square cubic
feet) found abundantly within the Central Region.

This will allow Sarawak to price its energy competitively andencourage investments in power generation and energy-intensive industries that will act as triggers for the industrial development in the corridor. The five areas chosen  asNew Growth Nodes areTanjungManis,
Mukah, Samalaju, Baram and Tunoh.

The Mukah Node will be developed into a Smart City, and will serve as the nerve centre for the corridor. The TanjungManis Node will be developed into an Industrial Port City and Halal Hub. The Samalaju Node will become the new Heavy Industry Centre, whereas Baram and Tunoh will focus on tourism and resource based industries.

The synergy between these five New Growth Nodes is expected to accelerate the development and growth
of the Central Region and Sarawak as a whole.

The corridor’s Secondary Growth Centres, such as Semop,
Balingian, Selangau, Samarakan, Bakun and Nanga Merit also stand to benefit greatly from spatial
development of the entire region.

SCORE will adopt a 5-prong development strategy. These are:

Driving investments towards three major growth nodes along the Corridor – TanjungManis (south), Mukah (centre) and Samalaju (north).

Build a well-designed network of industrial high standard transport and communication infrastructure within the Corridor,thenextend outwards to systematically open up the hinterland.

Fast-forward the development of energy supply, centering around currently known feasible hydropower (Murum, Limbang, Baram and Baleh) and coal deposit sites.

Accelerate human capital development within the Corridor with new learning centres and controlled immigration of skilled foreign workers.

Develop the tourism industry, focusing on the natural attractions of the Central Region, particularly the lakes upstream of the hydropower stations and the beaches along the northern part of the corridor.

Korean Press has not touched on Iskandar Malaysia as it has been covering extensively this corridor and
the necessary information can be found in its recent write-ups. Time to take a look at other options which
these four other corridors present.

Sarawak's hydro power will fuel its economy.

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