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Every state will benefit : October 13, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will push every state to the forefront, including the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, as part of the Key Economic Growth Areas (KEGA), especially in tourism and border economy development and logistics. Eight states — Perlis, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Pahang, Johor, Sarawak and Kelantan — have been earmarked as eco-tourism destinations, while Kuala Lumpur will serve as the Gateway to Asia in the tourism industry.

Besides eco-tourism, Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will also highlight products from island tourism and the culture and heritage of Melaka, Terengganu, Sabah and Penang, the latter of which will also focus on health tourism. The tourism industry, placed under the Malaysia Truly Asia initiative, is among 15 KEGA Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will focus on. Other areas that will be given attention include propelling the country towards becoming an Islamic fintech hub 2.0; the digital economy; the Fourth Industrial Revolution; Asean hub; halal hub; Commodity 2.0; and transport, logistics and sustainable mobility. The KEGA will focus on coastal economy and maritime; centres of excellence; renewable energy; green economy; and smart and high-value agriculture. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, which contribute almost 40 per cent to the gross domestic product, will emerge as the Industry 4.0 hub and become key players in hi-tech parks; ports and logistics; the digital economy and disruptive technology; manufacturing, automotive and MRO; and, smart agriculture. Kuala Lumpur, as the Asian tourism gateway, will play a role as the regional financial hub and Islamic fintech 2.0 hub. Putrajaya will remain the federal government's administrative centre, on top of serving as a diplomatic hub.

Four states — Perlis, Penang, Kedah and Perak — apart from being at the forefront of eco-tourism and health tourism, will also be known as high-value agriculture areas and centres for modern agriculture and livestock. Although known mainly as an agricultural state, Kedah is set to be developed as a location for the aerospace industry, apart from sharing a role with Perlis in boosting the border and logistic economy. Perlis will also be transformed into a centre for renewable energy. The northern region's most developed state, Penang, will play a key role as a logistics and industrial hub, as well as a centre of technological excellence. In the south, among industries set to take flight are smart agriculture, Malaysia Vision Valley (Negri Sembilan), smart city and halal hub (Melaka), the Straits of Malacca gateway (logistic hub and transhipment), southern region education hub, food crop hub and downstream petroleum-related activities.

East coast states will play a role in border economy and logistics; cultural and rural economy and agro-tourism (Kelantan); commodity economy and downstream products; coastal economy and fisheries; secondary education hub; and, downstream petroleum processing (Terengganu). Pahang will take the lead in mining, and become a transportation and logistics hub, as well as in high-technology agriculture. For Sabah, besides tourism, it will also become known for border economy, commodities, downstream products, fisheries and downstream petroleum processing. Sarawak will focus on the commodity economy and downstream products, petroleum and LNG, eco-tourism, high-technology agriculture and livestock, as well as renewable energy. 

Source : NST

Endau-Rompin National Park to reopen next year - September 29, 2019

ROMPIN: The Pahang State Forestry Department will reopen the Endau-Rompin National Park to visitors early next year after a two-year hiatus. Its director Datuk Dr. Mohd Hizamri Mohd Yasin said the park, which has been undergoing upgrading works since 2017, was ready to open its doors to both local and international tourists. He said the park of about 45 ha in size is located in the Endau-Rompin forest reserve and has its own attractions such as rivers, waterfalls, hills, and abundance of endemic plants and vibrant wildlife. He added that there is five new tourism infrastructure prepared by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) worth RM15 million in a bid to attract more visitors.

“An 80m hanging bridge, a lookout tower and a gallery showcasing the types of flora and fauna in the national park are among the things that make it one of the best ecotourism destinations. “There is also a virtual gaming room where you feel like you are in the forest that adds to the uniqueness of this place. “Visitors at the new facilities will see animal replicas such as tigers, elephants and the tapir. Chalets are also provided for those interested to stay overnight,” he said during a tour at the park yesterday. Hizamri said more than 15,000 local and foreign tourists visited the Endau-Rompin National Park every year. He said he was confident that with the latest upgrades and promotions, the numbers would increase.

He said cooperation with the media, tourist agencies as well as the public were vital in promoting the national park as a tourist destination. He cited the hiring of members of the local community to become tour guides as an example of such collaborations.

Pahang's Menara Teruntum set for 2020 opening- September 23, 2019

KUANTAN: Menara Teruntum, the country’s second-tallest tower, will be opened to visitors early next year. Kuantan Municipal Council (MPK) public relations officer Norkamawati Kamal said since the state capital will obtain city status next year, the opening of the tower will probably be held at the same time. She said work on the 180m tower has been completed and is in the process of obtaining the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC)."Work has been completed and now we are waiting for the CCC. Mercu Teruntum will be the newest and tallest landmark in town and will be operational when Kuantan is announced as a city next year. "MPK is scrutinizing a list of potential operators and once everything is sorted out, the price of entrance tickets will be finalized," she said when contacted.

Norkamawati said Menara Teruntum will provide visitors a unique experience and offers a beautiful view of the town. Visitors to the tower would also be able to enjoy thrilling rides up to two glass elevator shafts to the 104m high observation deck for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the state capital. A restaurant located 98m above ground level would also offer fantastic views of Kuantan and Sungai Kuantan. Meanwhile, State Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said Menara Teruntum could emerge as one of the country’s top tourist attractions. He said images of Menara Teruntum would be printed on gifts and souvenirs to boost promotional activities.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who recently described the tower as the new landmark in the state capital in his website, WanRosdy.com, had said visitors could take the opportunity to dine at the restaurant while enjoying the town’s skyline. Menara Teruntum will be ranked second after Kuala Lumpur Tower (421m) which is the tallest tower in the country.

'Sungai Lembing fire a wake-up call' - September 24, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The fire in Sungai Lembing, Pahang, on Merdeka morning, gutted 32 century-old buildings in the settlement, destroying history and the way of life of the community in a place once known as the “Eldorado of the East”. An elderly couple died in the blaze, while the community’s 50-year-old library with books chronicling its storied past, a tome twice the facility’s age and out-of-print books are among treasures reduced to ash. While some of the ex-tin-mining town’s treasures are lost, cultural activists told the New Straits Times the fire could be a wake-up call. Cultural activists, including Perak Heritage Society president Law Siak Hong, said there were lessons to be learned. “Too bad the fire happened. I am sad because it destroyed the iconic shophouses. What is going to happen now?”

“This is a wake-up call not only to preserve our past but to also look to our future. We should not focus on what is lost. We must create something good now for future use.” Law, however, said there was a dearth in the documentation. “Documenting the history of a place is essential for future planning, but we are grossly undocumented. “How are you going to know about what to do and how to do it without any knowledge?” He said there was no basic registry of heritage towns and villages. “We can’t do an audit to gauge which town or village has heritage value on a local, state or national level because we don’t know where they are or what they are about. “This is because there’s no initiative to identify them. State authorities have to carry out population, economic and historical studies before they move on to community initiatives”

He said state Town and Country Planning Departments had the budget to get the ball rolling. He said overtures could be made to neighboring or local corporations and plantations to provide funding for the plans. Law, however, said if the efforts were undertaken by the authorities, they would be “lopsided and inadequate”. “They will choose vote banks or places that have higher economic or tourist ratings. “They will use public funds for hare-brained projects that no one asked for in the first place by getting a village committee member’s consent. They will claim it’s a heritage drive or community project.” He said state authorities should use public coffers to educate the communities to empower them to make decisions for themselves and take the lead.

He said while this was “massively ambitious”, the states had to get things moving. He said they must send a team of consultants to each town or village to carry out cultural mapping. “The towns and villages must be studied and documented via cultural mapping but who is going to do the work? We have to get locals to do this because of the history of your place and its conservation matter to you and not anyone else.

“We should get consultants to shake things up and spearhead the movement by gathering people and encouraging them to get involved and say want they want. “Sometimes, it helps to suggest what they can do. Then slowly the locals have to rise up collectively, lead the movement and tell the government what they want.” He said this was one of the suggestions made in a convention attended by village heads in Putrajaya recently, where it was found that many people had no clue about what they wanted to preserve in their settlements and way of life.

Law drew on his experience in Papan, Perak, where he set up the Sybil Kathigasu memorial. He embarked on a mission to convince a community of 200 to 300 elderly folk that keeping the village vibrant was crucial to its survival. But he said it was an uphill task. “It’s a slow and painful job. Its success depends on the people’s communication, freedom and education in choosing their path. It’s democracy in the process. “The right conversations, minds as well as independent consultants have to be involved. Even if it does not work, at least we tried something.” He said ultimately the people would want to conserve their towns, villages, communities, and way of life.

He said impressing the necessity of installing fire extinguishers and putting in safety measures in people’s homes to prevent a recurrence of the Sungai Lembing fire was complex. “You may think of a building as a heritage structure, but for the person living there, it’s his house. “He might use open stoves and firewood, or even smoke in the house. You can’t stop people from living the way they want. Even handling an extinguisher for the elderly is impractical.” Badan Warisan Malaysia president Elizabeth Cardosa said while the National Heritage Department did not gazette geographical places outside buildings or sites with national significance, local councils, and state Town and Country Planning Departments could make the push by inserting them in local plans. “In the case of the state and local authorities, if the people value it, they can do that.” Associate Professor Dr. A.S. Hardy Shafii said the government had to be sincere about conserving or rebuilding villages and towns.

“Everything is related. You can’t separate tourism from culture and politics. From one angle, it is difficult to sustain conservation efforts. From the other, if you want to build something that is just a façade or a replica for tourists, then the living and breathing aspects of the place or the site disappear.” He, however, said the common thread in the understanding of heritage was either gentrification of a place or community or upgrading with poor designs and architecture.

Hardy cited George Town, Penang, as an example of where Singaporean outfits bought pre-war shophouses to be turned into cafes for tourists. This resulted in the townsfolk’s culture and traditions being obliterated. Hardy, who is doing research on waterfront cities and cultural activities, said the government must consider the reasons for rebuilding Sungai Lembing. “You need to carry out studies and engage the community when you want to build, preserve or conserve. “At the end of the day, it has to be what is sustainable and what they want as they are the custodians. It cannot be the authorities’ agenda.” Hardy said all settlements must be conserved and not just those that were predominantly Malay.

“Different cultures and communities hold a treasure trove of knowledge and traditions. We cannot be ethnocentric or chauvinistic about one culture taking precedence over another in terms of heritage and conservation.”

He drew on the shrinking Portuguese settlement in Melaka that had fallen by the wayside. “The community is unique because people are mostly related and close-knit. People come from all over the world during the San Pedro boat festival. Their brand of San Pedro is unique to Melaka.” Hardy said many things could be done to keep traditions alive and settlements vibrant. However, he said, they involved political will and professionalism. “It boils down to whether the government is sincere. If you understand what is culture and heritage, then it all boils down to professionalism. “There are many instances where the authorities bulldoze projects even though people don’t agree, and when something bad happens, they play the blame game.”

Pahang attracts RM1.3bil investment from China - 20 September 2019

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (2nd left), who witnessed the signing ceremony, described the signing as a huge achievement which will contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of the state and its people. NSTP/courtesy of Pahang MB Press Secretary's office

KUANTAN: Pahang is set to receive investments worth RM1.386 billion from China after the east coast state inked six memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Chinese companies in Nanning, China today. In a statement, the Pahang Menteri Besar's press secretary office said these investments include an RM522.2 million project by ND Paper (M) Bhd to set up a plant in Bentong to produce paper and pulp. "TNP Power Sdn Bhd has set aside RM341.74 million to set up a factory at the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) 1 in Kuantan for combined heat and power generation, while China Travel Service Meizian Company Limited will invest RM200 million to establish an ‘Eco-Tourism City’ in Bukit Tinggi, Bentong.

"Zhongxin Resources Regeneration Technology Sdn Bhd is interested in investing RM122.48 million in a paper and plastic particles manufacturing project in MCKIP 1 while Wuxi Jinxie Industrial Company Limited will invest in an 800kw ultra-low speed wind turbine in Pulau Tioman, Rompin worth RM100 million," said the statement. The sixth company - Power China Construction Group - will invest RM100 million to build a factory that produces solar panels for homes at the Gebeng Industrial Plant in Kuantan. Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who witnessed the signing ceremony, described the signing as a huge achievement which will contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of the state and its people.

"I hope the MoUs which were signed today would be turned into reality soon. This is similar to the 11 MoUs signed between the Pahang state government and several Singaporean firms in August, whereby eight of the projects are already in the final stages of being implemented," said Wan Rosdy. Earlier, Wan Rosdy paid a courtesy call to Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Governor Chen Wu. Both leaders discussed several issues including the proposal to establish direct flights between Kuantan-Nanning which would help reduce the traveling time between the two regions.

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