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Vital boost for Perak

By Marina Emmanuel 2013/09/03

A JOINT venture project between a Bursa Malaysia-listed company and an European investor will form the bulk of more than RM400 million in investments in northern Perak by year-end.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir did not give details of the investment except that it was in the manufacturing sector and one of the 34 entry-point projects for the "Greater Kamunting" area in Perak. The area, encompassing Taiping and Kamunting, has a potential to draw RM18 billion in investments from this year until 2030.

The investors will initially set up a manufacturing facility in Kamunting, after which more plants will be set up in the state.

Other investments expected to be secured for Taiping this year are from the tourism, logistics and agricultural sectors.

"Our plan is to transform the Greater Kamunting area into a high-technology park similar to the Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah."

Zambry was speaking after launching the second phase of northern Perak's development plan by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) at its new office overlooking the Taiping Lake Gardens.

Present was NCIA chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq.

"NCIA has facilitated the entry of RM166.5 million into Taiping and Kamunting for the first six months of this year. Among the projects are the Novotel hotel and a shopping mall in Taiping," said Zambry, adding that the projects will create 3,650 jobs next year.

"Big-ticket infrastructure projects by the government, such as the Second Penang Bridge and Ipoh-Padang Besar double-tracking project, and Taiping's proximity to the Penang International Airport, place the Taiping-Kamunting area in good stead to host the northern region's second high-technology park," said Redza.

NCIA is in the first year of its Phase Two development and the authority is broadening private-sector participation.

"We are leveraging our relationships with foreign investors as well as encouraging corporations and local companies to expand their businesses here," added Redza.

Zambry also expressed optimism that Perak's request to the government for the extension of a military airstrip in Grik, to accommodate commercial turbo-propeller planes, will be well-received.

"The 533m runway needs to be extended to 1.2km to accommodate propeller aircraft for better connectivity to the Belum Temenggor rainforest and the Lenggong Valley."

Redza said NCIA is in discussions with Perak's Economic Planning Unit, Department of Civil Aviation and Transport Ministry on the proposed expansion of the airstrip.

Source: www.btimes.com.my