Created to bridge development imbalances in the country, the main five Economic Corridors in Malaysia are:

  • Iskandar Malaysia in Southern Johor (IRDA)
  • East Coast Economic Region (ECER)
  • Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER)
  • Sabah Development Corridor (SDC)
  • Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score).

These economic platforms promote free trade and business incentives located in strategic investment regions. They have distinct locations, their own visions and focus areas and respective bodies overseeing their development.

Iskandar Malaysia in Southern Johor (IRDA): Introduced in 2006 to boost the economic performance of the state of Johor, Iskandar Malaysia was allocated RM6.83B by the government and a vast acreage. It is the largest single development project in the region, which boasts:

  • the Coastal Highway and
  • Eastern Dispersal Link
  • Legoland Malaysia
  • Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park (well known for Sanrio Hello Kitty Town)
  • EduCity with Newcastle University, the University of Southampton and Marlborough College.

Iskandar Malaysia also received enormous publicity from the high-speed rail project linking Singapore, Iskandar Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur.

A total of RM302.09B in committed investments has been accumulated from 2006 to June 2019, which is well above the initial targeted figure.  More than 700,000 jobs have been created in various economic sectors, including the services sector such as logistics, creative, tourism and education. The size of IRDA has also been doubled by the Malaysian Government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 2019, 13 years after its inception.

East Coast Economic Region (ECER): Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, along with the district of Mersing in Johor, comprise the ECER.The ECER’s population of about 3.9 million represents 14.5% of the total population of Malaysia. Launched in 2008, total private investment stands at RM115.6B to date, with 164,500 job opportunities created and around 38,000 entrepreneurs developed. Infrastructure-ready industrial parks in the ECER and investor-friendly incentives are also major pull factors for investors as they can start their operations immediately while enjoying many perks, including a 10-year tax holiday.

With main sectors comprising manufacturing, bio-economy, oil and gas, tourism, logistics and transportation.ECER boasts:

  • Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park
  • Pekan Automotive Park
  • Kuantan Integrated Industrial Park in Pahang
  • Kerteh Biopolymer Park in Terengganu
  • Pasir Mas Halal Park in Kelantan

Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER): Peninsular Malaysia’s four northern states, Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak, comprise the NCER, and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) was established to provide direction and devise policies and strategies in relation to socio-economic development of 25 districts in these states, to transform them into a world-class economic region with an economy worth RM300 billion by 2025, which could create more than 160,000 job opportunities in the lucrative sectors of services, manufacturing, agriculture and bio-industries.

The 2 main themes of the NCER initiative are:

  • increasing value-add from existing industries with emphasis on transforming and expanding the target economic focus areas (agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and logistics) in the region
  • commitment to growth with social equity where there will be programmes to accelerate growth in the target economic areas that emphasise local community involvement led by the private sector and driven by market imperatives.

Initiatives from new growth nodes such as Chuping Valley, the Kedah Rubber City, the Kedah Science and Technology Park and Greater Kamunting include:

  • solar panel-driven SuriaKu initiative (MySuria)
  • Estate Management Model for farmers
  • Community Innovation Centre
  • Bumiputra Micropreneur Development Programme (MCash)
  • Modern Farming Training Programme using Fertigation
  • Nestle Paddy Club
  • Rapid Kamunting.

Sabah Development Corridor (SDC): The SDC is an economic corridor initiative that spans the state of Sabah, leveraging on its natural resources to generate economic growth. With Greater Kota Kinabalu serving as the main growth pole, SDC has 6 designated six Strategic Development Areas (SDAs) to complement the Greater Kota Kinabalu Initiative:

  • Bio-Triangle
  • Agro Marine Belt
  • Interior Food Valley
  • Kinabalu Gold Coast Enclave
  • Brunei Bay Integrated Development Area and Oil and Gas Clusters

New infrastructures slated for development for Sabah under the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 include:

  • Pan Borneo Highway Sabah
  • Kota Kinabalu Bus Rapid Transit project
  • new Kota Kinabalu airport
  • light rail transit system in Kota Kinabalu
  • new railway lines to connect the north and east coasts of Sabah
  • Lahad Datu airport upgrade

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) The Score is an initiative to develop the central region and transform Sarawak into a developed state by the year 2020. It aims to achieve the goals of accelerating the state’s economic growth and development as well as improving the quality of life for Sarawakians.

Hydropower (28,000 MW), coal (1.46 billion tonnes) and natural gas (40.9 trillion sq cu ft) are the key energy resources that drive the initiatve, and investments in power generation and energy-intensive industries will act as triggers for the vibrant industrial development in the Score, which boasts 0.8 billion barrels of known oil reserves, over 80 million tonnes of silica sand and over 22 million tonnes of kaolin. Tanjung Manis, Mukah, Samalaju, Baram and Tunoh have been selected as the five new growth nodes.

(Source: The Star Online)