Sunday, September 30, 2007

ECER cooperation sought with Kelantan

PUTRAJAYA (The Star, 21/9/2007): The Federal Government hopes that the Kelantan Government will cooperate in developing the Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER) to ensure that growth in the three east coast states is at par with those in the other states.

“Development of the eastern states is vital as it is the Government’s plan for a balanced and equitable development of the whole nation.

“If development for these states is not given a boost then their growth will be slower than states in the west coast,” said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who would launch the corridor, would announce targets for employment, investments and growth as well as the major sectors to be developed.

At a press conference in Kota Baru, Kelantan said it welcomed the ECER.

“The state is satisfied with the general development ingredients mooted by Petronas,” said state Finance Planning committee chairman Datuk Husam Musa.

In the long-term, Husam wanted the federal government to consider allowing Kelantan to be the landing point for oil and gas extracted particularly from the nearby Malaysia-Thai Joint Development Area.

The oil and gas sectors are some of the many sectors involved in the development of ECER that would cost RM112bil over a span of 15 years.

Najib, speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of an agreement between Felda and Indonesia’s PT Kalpataru Investama on the planting of oil palm in East Kalimantan, also commented on the proposed eKesihatan scheme.

He said Cabinet decided to postpone the eKesihatan health screening for commercial vehicle drivers after receiving a lot of protests from various quarters.

“If we want to start a scheme, it has to be agreed by the affected parties; the concept and the requirements have to be fine-tuned to everyone’s satisfaction,” he said.

Najib said ministries that received negative remarks in the Auditor-General’s Report were now dealing with the Treasury.


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