Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak witnesses a document exchange between the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) and 14 foreign and domestic investors in East Coast Economic Region (ECER) at Parliament. Pic by SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD.

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) has attracted another 14 local and foreign companies with RM9.9 billion investments, bringing the total investments into the economic corridor to RM109.15 billion.

This edges the corridor closer to its target of attracting RM110 billion investments by 2020, ECER Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John said.

The 14 investors exchanged documents of the deals with ECERDC at Parliament today, witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The RM9.9 billion investments are expected to create 4,000 jobs, Jebasingam said.

He said the transformation in the ECER has a positive impact on the livelihood of Malaysians, with over 140,000 jobs and 26,000 entrepreneurial opportunities created across the urban and rural areas of the region.

"With this signing of deals worth RM9.9 billion today, the ECER is on track to achieving its year 2020 investment goals (RM110 billion). This brings the total committed private investments since 2008 to RM109.15 billion," he added.

Jebasingam said the ECER investment growth in the last 10 years had contributed significantly to the region's overall gross domestic product (GDP), which increased by RM9.7 billion or 1.8 percentage point from the 3.9 per cent GDP growth since 2007.

"We have built a dynamic ecosystem in the region whereby each investment project creates immense spillover benefits on the overall economic value chain.

"This includes businesses, entrepreneurs, workers as well as the service providers, thus making the ECER’s socioeconomic landscape vibrant, sustainable and resilient," he said.

According to Jebasingam, six local Bumiputera companies are involved in 165 projects worth RM15.6 billion, contributing 1.5 per cent of the total approved investments in the ECER in line with the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap 2.0.

"This will help elevate the well-being of the community through greater participation in the economy. More than 18,000 new employment opportunities are expected to be created from the total Bumiputera investments,” he said.

The ECER’s entrepreneur programme has helped 6,453 entrepreneurs upscale their business, he added.

About 18,000 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs were created from these programmes, who in turn generated more than 33,000 job opportunities for the local communities.

He said ECER will continue to strengthen its integration and connectivity with the Asia-Pacific region through the implementation of high-impact public infrastructure projects such as the Kuantan Port Expansions, the East Coast Expressway (Phase 3) and the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL).

The 600km ECRL will form the backbone of infrastructure for transportation, ensuring balanced and integrated socioeconomic transformation even to smaller towns across the region.

"This game-changer will connect the two major ports (Port Klang and Kuantan Port), and improve connectivity and contribute an additional one to 1.5 per cent of the GDP to the ECER," he said.

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