MALACCA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will officiate Malacca's latest development project that will see the creation of three man-made islands off the coast of Bandar Hilir today.
The islands will be located near Pulau Melaka, the first man-made island in the state.
Once completed, they will be Southeast Asia's largest cluster of man-made islands.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the RM40 billion Melaka Gateway mixed development project on 246ha of land comprised hotels, malls, restaurants, theme parks, museum, recreational and sports centres.
"The project will give a continuity to the development of the city here and create a long-term economic development. The new islands, which will be fully developed by 2023 , will be the nucleus of the new economic development in the state similar to the Iskandar Development Region and East Coast Economic Region.
"With an international cruise terminal, iconic tourism landmarks, marinas and a cultural centre on the cards, it will be on par with Manhattan in New York."
The project is privately undertaken by Kejuruteraan Asas Jaya Sdn Bhd, with foreign investments from the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, China and the United States.
The mega-tourism project is slated to provide 15,000 jobs and attract an additional 2.5 million tourists to the state with an expected annual growth of 18.5 per cent.
It is also expected to contribute RM6 billion to the state's Gross Domestic Product.
After officiating the project, Najib will perform Friday prayers at Masjid Selat in Pulau Melaka before officiating the "Rimbunan Kaseh" agriculture project in Serkam, Jasin.
The project is jointly organised by the Implementation Coordination Unit under the PM's Department, with Iris Corporation Bhd and the state government.
The RM27 million project is part of the National Key Results Area initiatives, to raise the living standard of the low-income group.