KUALA TERENGGANU, Sept 7 — The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has proposed to the Ministry of Finance to widen its focus to include development aspects of islands in Terengganu in the 2021 Budget.
Its chief executive officer Baidzawi Che Mat said that the development and upgrading of support infrastructure such as jetties, sidewalks, public facilities and solid waste management would help conserve the islands’ natural assets.
He said that the move will also drive the industry because domestic tourism to the islands is expected to increase post-COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to curb the threat to marine biodiversity.
“Other measures, including the improvement of tourism facilities and incentives to local businesses, need to be given serious consideration for implementation to attract more tourists,” he said in a statement yesterday.
ECERDC stated these matters during an engagement session in the preparation of the 2021 Budget with Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, today at Kampung Budaya, Terengganu State Museum, here, which was also attended by tourism, oil, gas and petrochemicals (OGP) industry players.
It also said that under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Master Plan 2.0, apart from the emphasis on infrastructure development in popular island destinations such as Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Lang Tengah, ECERDC has also built the iconic Terengganu landmark, the Kuala Terengganu city centre (KTCC) drawbridge, as well as ecotourism sites in Kenyir Lake and Setiu Wetlands.
In the engagement session, ECERDC also proposed new initiatives to be given due consideration by the government, including the upstream sector as part of ECER activities as well as increasing participation from local companies in vendor programmes.
“ECERDC also proposes new areas of focus, particularly specialty chemicals, to boost growth and attract high value-added downstream investments,” it said.
It added that the council will continue to work with federal and state governments’ industry players in driving investment and socio-economic growth in the region.