MELAKA ― The Malay Sultanate once thrived because of Melaka’s strategic position and well-known port. As such, Chief Minister Adly Zahari is determined to restore the sector as a major economic contributor to the state.
To make this a reality, Adly said, Melaka has to plan the development of a sustainable port.
The first step towards this direction would be to focus on the development of three ports — Port of Malacca Gateway, and the Tanjung Bruas and Kuala Linggi ports.
He said the focus on these three major ports, compared with nine by the previous government, would accord more attention on their development, thereby accelerating the economic growth in the state.
“Given this focus, including monitoring the ports’ development, we can speed up the process of approval, changes to the site where land reclamation is taking place, and proper distribution between the state government and concessionaires involved in the development of a particular coast,” he told Bernama.
“This is a time-consuming process. (If there are too many port projects) then the projects’ progress will slow down, we will try to shorten it.”
Adly said the development of Port of Melaka Gateway, once completed, would focus on generating the economy through tourism.
The Tanjung Bruas port would contribute by way of being a container port handling transportation operations.
He said Kuala Linggi port has been identified as having the potential to be developed into an international port, as in the past, it has generated RM50 million in revenue annually for the state government.
“We will hold discussions with Negri Sembilan on the issue of borders. We believe once the Kuala Linggi port is developed, Port Dickson will flourish in terms of providing income opportunities while Kuala Linggi will develop as meeting industry requirements,” he said.
As for revenue expected to be generated by the three ports, Adly said the potential was still being assessed and would be announced once the evaluation process for the ports are finalised.
On the cost to be borne by the state government to develop the ports, he said it involved foreign investors and the state government which was involved with land and reclamation ground.
“The Tanjung Bruas port project involved many local companies, the development of Kuala Linggi port is open for bidding to various parties, while the reclamation work for the Melaka Gateway Port project will be jointly undertaken by KAJ Development Sdn Bhd and foreign investors,” he said.
“The combination is expected to help the state government accelerate the economic development process, thus shortening the construction period for high-impact projects.”
Adly said the state government would empower the tourism sector to ensure it remained one of the major contributors to the state’s economy.
“Melaka City will be be tapped to the fullest to realise this objective,” he said, as it was known as a world heritage city.
However, not all areas were being tapped and used effectively now for tourism purposes, for example Jonker Walk, which was just passed off as a lane.
Jonker Walk starts from across Melaka River near the Stadthuys. The road is filled with historical houses on both sides dating back to the 17th century.
It also has shops selling antiques, textiles, foods, handicrafts and souvenirs, which can be developed further as a tourist attraction.
“We also see potential in rural tourism. We can bring around tourists to experience village life and also promote medical tourism. With increased tourism potential, more job opportunities and businesses will be created and this will spur the state economy,” he said.
Melaka, which is targeting 20 million tourist arrivals for “Visit Melaka Year” next year, registered 16.75 million tourists last year and attracted about RM20 billion in foreign investment over the last five years.
Adly also said the Melaka government intended to develop its sand industry to become a supplier to glass manufacturing and other related industries.
“We have a lot of sand which is used for reclamation work. We will also talk to glass manufacturers to source the raw material from us. For example, a glass factory in Lipat Kajang is currently sourcing sand from Terengganu and not from within the state,” he said. ― Bernama