By Richard High27 February 2008
Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has launched a US$ 33.2 billion “economic plan” aimed at boosting growth and reducing poverty in the country's rural east. The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECER) project, drawn up by the national oil company Petronas, is the third and final of a series of high–cost development master plans that have been rolled out ahead of expected snap elections.
The government said the 12–year plan was designed to create 560000 new jobs and raise income levels for nearly four million people, about 15% of the population.
It will involve more than 200 projects in transportation, infrastructure, tourism, education, manufacturing, the oil and gas industries and agriculture, said Mr Badawi in a statement.
The government is expected to fund more than half the investment for the ECER, while the remainder is to come from the private sector. Public funds will soon be poured in to jump–start the project, “signalling the government's commitment to realise the efforts of delivering development” to the regions, said Mr Badawi.
In July Malaysia launched a US$ 51 billion development plan to turn its mainly agricultural north into a logistics, food processing and tourism zone by 2025.
Last November, it unveiled an ambitious 20 year plan to turn 2200 km2 of Johor next to Singapore into an industrial and tourist zone.