Saturday January 22, 2011
Big plans to lift Perak economy
By TEE LIN SAY
IPOH: Perak will focus on agriculture and resources, tourism, renewable energy, education. marine, shipbuilding and heavy industries sectors to boost its economy under the Economic Transformation Programme.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said Perak's strengths were in its natural resources - minerals for mining activities, abundance of agriculture land and biodiversity for tourism.
“Currently, most of the related economic activities are skewed towards the lower end of the value chain, hence limiting the potential returns that Perak can reap from these resources,” Zambry pointed out.
Moving forward, Perak will look into the overall value chain and identify higher value-added activities for the local players to start venturing into.
At the same time, the tourism sector will be strengthened by improving the existing products and forming a thematic tourism circuit.
Zambry planned to create an additional 10,000 jobs annually with more emphasis on skilled and semi-skilled human capital.
“We understand that the bulk of the demand for the manpower in Perak will still be on unskilled labour,” he said
During an interview with StarBizWeek, Zambry announced a few developments that were taking shape in the state.
The Perak Innovation & Creative Resource Centre (Pincer) is collaborating with Spacetoon International to launch its box office 3-D movie Mentera some time in August.
Costing some RM20mil, Pincer marks the state's foray into creative content. The centre will not only become an animation centre, but will also be involved in merchandising.
For its joint venture with Spacetoon, it has pumped in some RM8mil for the production of Mentera.
“We have been working together for three years. It was a long and painful exercise to convince them to come. But now we are in the post-production stage. We believe that returns will be forthcoming,” he said.
Zambry added that one of Perak's NKRA was for the development of information technology, which will be carried out through animation.
“We have identified creative content as a way to stop some of the migration of talent overseas. We are initiating more strategies to get these talent back,” he said.
Pincer is located behind the Perak Techno Trade Centre in Taman Meru, Jelapang near Ipoh.
Zambry said initial discussions with the Federal Government for Perak to set up its own low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in the northern part of the state has taken place.
“We hope the Government will give it due consideration. The site is expected to take up 4,000 acres in the vicinity of Parit Buntar and Taiping, which is in the area of the Northern Corridor Economic Region.
The construction will likely cost half a billion ringgit, and it will be funded by the private sector,” he said.
Zambry, together with Perak Sultan Azlan Shah and Regent Raja Dr Nazrin Shah have formed a team to lobby for the LCCT.
He emphasised that the LCCT was not meant to compete with Penang, but would complement it.
Zambry said in five to eight years, the LCCT could possibly handle five million passengers a year.
This would bring about economic activity and make Taiping and Parit Buntar a new growth centre.
More colleges will be set up to boost growth and investment in the state.
“The Premier International Medical University will be set up in Perak and will be run privately by a group of companies. One of the companies involved is a leading firm in the education field,” said Zambry.
He said Perak had approved 60 acres of land to SEGI College to build a health services campus for a university college along the Ipoh-Lumut Expressway.