Saturday, June 14, 2008

Council To Spearhead ECER Development, Says PM

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 14 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council will spearhead implementation of the ECER master plan and play the main role in determining the direction, policy and strategy for its development.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in stating this Saturday, said the council, set up under an Act of Parliament, would also generate and promote economic and social developments as well as private sector investments in the region.

"The setting up of the council, as an authority, is important to ensure that the ECER master plan is implemented in an efficient and orderly manner," he said at the launch of the council here Saturday.
"With this, the policies, planning and implementation by all parties can be streamlined in an organised and comprehensive way for the welfare of the local people," he added.

Abdullah said besides promoting economic activities in the ECER, the council would also study the impact of development programmes to ensure that socio-economic development was being carried out in tandem.

He also said that to ensure the success of the ECER, he has appointed members from the highest level for the council with himself taking on the responsibility of chairman.

Other members included Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, he said.
Abdullah said to strengthen the council, he has appointed Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz as representatives of the federal government.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has also ben appointed to represent the civil service, he said.
The Prime Minister named Petronas' president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican and IOI Corp's executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng as representatives of the private sector.

Abdullah said at the management and operations level, the council will be led by Datuk Jebasingam Issace John as the chief executive officer.
"He was involved in drawing up the ECER master plan and is supported by a team which is capable of carrying out the council's functions effectively," he said.

Abdullah said the council has a heavy responsibility to ensure that the ECER objectives are achieved.
"As the chairman, I will ensure that the council acts efficiently, effectively and impartially," he said.

On progress of the ECER so far, Abdullah said he was satisfied with the ECER secretariat for its efforts in developing several projects and programmes.

Among them is the setting of Centres of Excellence at five universities in the region, namely Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Darul Iman, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.
According to him, such centres are in line with the ECER objectives to encourage research and development, which can lead to related commercial industries coming up in the region.

On the agriculture sector, Abdullah said several initiatives had started to be implemented.
Among them is the development of three agro valleys in Bachok-Setiu-Kuala Berang, Pekan-Rompin-Mersing and Kuantan-Maran areas, a herbal and biotech park in Gua Musang, Kelantan, and a fruit park in Lanchang, Pahang.

He said for the petrochemical sector, development of the Kertih Plastic Park had started and results were shown with an initial investment of RM50 million for factory and infrastructure.

Abdullah said the government would continue to support the ECER by providing the optimum infrastructure.
He said the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan would look into the allocations for the infrastructure development of the ECER as well as the other economic regions. -- BERNAMA

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