Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (The Edge filepix)
KUANTAN (Aug 9): The economic development in the west side of Pahang, including the districts of Lipis, Raub, Jerantut dan Bera, which forms Pahang Barat Plus, is among the focus of the Joint Committee for Industrial Coordination (JBI) between the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Pahang government.
Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said efforts to develop the economy and lure investors to the districts involved were being done through the creation of the Pahang Barat Plus Economic Region, which will focus on five clusters including tourism, agriculture, timber and services, that will directly contribute towards the creation of more job opportunities.
"The creation of new economic region clusters in the west side of Pahang is also in line with the national investment policy, as we want to put a balance on the economic development in the entire state of Pahang and not just on a certain area, by identifying suitable projects to be taken to those districts.
"We will also discuss with the Ministry of Finance to look into attractive incentives, as well as to provide fair allocation for development to upgrade the infrastructures in the industrial parks in Pahang, so as to lure investors to the state," he said after co-chairing the JBI meeting with Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail here on Tuesday (Aug 9).
The meeting was also attended by MITI Secretary-General Datuk Seri Lokman Hakim Ali and State Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak.
About the agricultural sector in Pahang Barat Plus, Mohamed Azmin said one of suitable measures to be undertaken is to implement high-tech agriculture, which is an important aspect of ensuring food security, as Pahang, being a large state, could contribute in that area.
In addition to the development of Pahang Barat Plus, he said focus would also be given to the development and strengthening of the halal industry in Pahang, as the state already has the Halal Park in Gambang, which has vast potential to be further developed.
"Our focus (in the halal industry) is not only given to the food and beverage sector but must also be viewed from a wider perspective such as in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and logistics sectors, which also have high potential," he said.
Mohamed Azmin also said that even though the Pahang government had succeeded in attracting investments totalling RM20.5 billion as of July 31, which surpassed the initial target of RM18 billion for this year, it still has the potential to attract more, as Pahang is one of the best states that facilitate approval process for investors.
Besides, he said Pahang also understands the importance of connectivity, which is one of the vital aspects to attract investors, and this is proven by the ongoing implementation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, development of highways alignments, and the proposed development of the Aerospace City in Gebeng.
Meanwhile, Wan Rosdy said the state government does not want the west side of Pahang to continue lagging behind in economic aspects, as prior focus was mainly placed on the east side of the state.
That was why the state government had reassessed the economic potential of the districts involved, he said.
"For example, when a livestock breeding company showed interest to invest, we "pulled" the proposed project in Rompin to Raub instead, and we provided the land. These are among incentives we can think of, to develop Pahang Barat.
"Besides, we also expedited their processes, such as in land acquisition," he added.
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