PETALING JAYA: Pahang secured RM56.4 billion in domestic and foreign investments as at December 2016, driven by robust growth in the manufacturing sector, which contributed 51% of total investment. A total of 52,169 jobs have been created. The figures were released in a statement issued after the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Implementation and Coordination (ICC) Pahang meeting held in Kuantan yesterday. The industrial parks in Pahang, including the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Park and Kuantan Integrated Biopark, have been key drivers in the state’s growth momentum. The four industrial parks have thus far attracted RM19.54 billion worth of private investments in total, which will create 21,460 job opportunities. Other key contributors to Pahang’s growth include tourism as well as the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, which contribute 26.3% and 7.3% respectively. MCKIP alone has grown to become an important economic driver, attracting RM18.1 billion in domestic and foreign investments. For example, Alliance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd, the industrial park’s first and current largest investor, is on track to start operations by the end of this year and will create 3,500 employment opportunities. A number of high-impact infrastructure projects – namely the expansion of Kuantan Port into a deep water port, the East Coast Rail Line, and the Ganchong water Treatment Plant in Pekan, scheduled for completion by March 2017 – are also in progress to further spur investment from domestic and foreign investors. A milk processing plant is expected to be ready this year at the Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre, which will enable the anchor company, Holstein Milk Co, to boost its milk production in Pahang and reinforce the centre as Malaysia’s largest dairy producer. Holstein’s dairy products, sold under the Farm Fresh brand, currently command more than 39% of the local market share in the fresh milk segment. Other developments in Pahang that are due for completion this year, is the Rompin Integrated Pineapple Plantation’s whole cultivation area of 1,200ha involving nurseries, plantations, as well as a collection, processing and packaging centre, and phase one of the Herbal Integrated Cluster Development (HICD), which spans some 327ha. More than 35,000 Pahang locals have benefitted from the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) human capital development programme. In 2016 alone, 971 adult participants became entrepreneurs through various programmes initiated under ECERDC and creating about 2,448 job opportunities for the local communities. The B40 income group makes up about 93% of the total participants as this is part of the strategy to improve the group’s income and livelihood by providing them with upskilling or entrepreneurial opportunities. “Moving forward in 2017, ECERDC hopes to reach out to 1,350 budding entrepreneurs via the entrepreneur ECER programme this year. We will also be working with Universiti Teknologi Mara to promote the local batik industry and we are looking into grooming some 20 batik entrepreneurs to promote the Malaysian textile industry to cater to international markets,” Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John, CEO of the ECERDC, said. On the bumiputra investment front, the state received and approved 37 projects worth RM6.95 billion from bumiputra companies. These projects, which will help to generate 4,071 potential jobs for the rakyat, received incentives from ECERDC and/or TERAJU@ECER. Of this total, 15 bumiputra projects valued at RM358.4 million, have benefited from the Dana Mudahcara TERAJU@ECER facilitation funds amounting to RM44.4 million. Most of these investments are for bumiputra companies involved in construction and services industries.