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Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah (right) speaks to State Investment and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Dr Ku Abdul Rahman Ku Ismail ahead of the state legislative assembly sitting in Wisma Darulaman. Pic by AMRAN HAMID.

ALOR STAR: Kedah is aiming to rev up the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least RM1 billion with the proposed setting of two inland ports - in Kulim and Bukit Kayu Hitam.

State Investment and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Dr Ku Abdul Rahman Ku Ismail said the setting up of the two inland ports would plug the state's GDP outflow to Penang.

Citing an example, Ku Rahman said all the manufacturing sector products churned out from Kulim High-Technology Park (KHTP) and other industrial area in southern Kedah are shipped to the export markets via Penang seaport and airport.

"Although the products are manufactured in Kedah, all the export documentations are being done in Penang, so Penang has been declaring these transactions as its GDP instead of ours.

"So, by having an inland port in Kulim, we will be able to record that as Kedah's GDP by getting Customs Department to process the export documentation in Kulim itself instead of in Penang," he told reporters after the conclusion of the state legislative assembly sitting here today.

He said the state government has identified a suitable location in Kulim to set up the inland port and Kedah would hold a discussion with the Customs Department on the proposal.

On the proposed inland port in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Ku Rahman said it is meant to tap the growing southern Thai export market.

"Each year, million tonnes of rubber products from Thai passed by Bukit Kayu Hitam to Penang port and we want to capture this by opening an inland port there to handle the documentation process for the goods," he said.

Ku Rahman said the state government will seek a cooperation from Perlis government to build a rail track connecting Padang Besar to Arau which links to Bukit Kayu Hitam.

He said the other alternative is to make use with the available railway track in Kodiang.

He added that the state had also proposed to the Thai government to connect their rail track in Hatyai to Bukit Kayu Hitam for the purpose, during a recent Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) meeting.

Ku Rahman said Kedah recorded RM37.17 billion in GDP last year and the setting up of the inland ports would help to contribute towards increasing the state annual GDP to RM40 billion.

He said since 2010, the state GDP has increased by about RM10 billion from RM27.35 billion.

On another note, Ku Rahman said the state government move to impose commitment fee on all investors to Kedah is meant to help the state to focus on serious investors.

He said the state has collected almost RM18 million in commitment fee from both domestic and foreign investors since it was introduced last year.

“The commitment fee will also ensure that the state would not be misled or misused any quarters for their own benefit,” he said.

Earlier Ku Rahman told the House that the three catalyst projects in Kedah namely the Rubber City in Padang Terap, the Kedah Science and Technology Park and Special Border Economic Zone are expected to generate RM500 billion in revenue in several years to come for the state.

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