The Melaka state government will develop a new economic corridor that is set to be a landmark and game changer for the state’s economy.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali said the corridor called the Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone (M-WEZ) would be built on a 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) sea reclamation area running a 22 km stretch from Umbai to Tanjung Bruas.
“I am confident that M-WEZ has a location that is very well-suited, strategic and attractive as well as having the potential of turning Melaka into a unique international investment and business destination. It will boost the economy, providing great benefits not only for people in the state but making its impact felt throughout the country,” he said.
He was speaking at the investiture of orders, decorations and medals held in conjunction with the 71st birthday of Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Ali Rustam today.
Sulaiman said besides M-WEZ, other state development initiatives had been carefully planned to stimulate the state’s continuous development. These include developing the Masjid Tanah full district, Melaka high speed rail station, digitalisation and smart city, high-tech industries, Kuala Linggi International Port and waste-to-energy infrastructure project in Sungai Udang.
He acknowledged that the global COVID-19 pandemic had also affected Melaka’s economic performance which contracted 17.1 per cent in the second quarter compared with a marginal growth of 0.7 per cent achieved in the first quarter of the year.
“This quarterly performance was the state’s lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded since the fourth quarter of 1998 (-11.2 per cent).
“Nonetheless, we are grateful for the swift action by the Federal Government in tackling the situation, among others through the implementation of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package and the National Economic Recovery Plan to lessen the impact of COVID-19, which at the very least is expected to gradually alleviate the slowdown of the economy and hopefully will lead to positive growth in the third quarter of 2020,” he said.
On behalf of the state, Sulaiman also expressed appreciation to the Federal Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the Sept 23 announcement on the Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (KITA PRIHATIN) which, among others, included the Targeted Wage Subsidy Programme, Prihatin Special Grant, and Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0.
“God willing, the Melaka state government will hold a special pre-Budget 2021 meeting with all stakeholders and groups that represent the people — whether from government agencies or industries, including the respective associations — to obtain constructive input in preparation for the tabling of the 2021 state budget in November,” he added.
On reviving the COVID-19-affected tourism industry, Sulaiman said the state government had made various efforts to attract tourists, including stimulating the domestic tourism industry, strengthening selective international markets and widening the reach of Melaka tourism promotion via the digital concept.
“For this purpose, new tag lines have been created, which are ‘Melaka Safe Haven’ and ‘Melaka is the Place To Be’ to show that Melaka is truly a safe and hygienic state as a choice holiday destination.
“In addition, the promotion of Melaka as a travel and tourism site will be intensified through the ‘Dream Now Travel Later’ (DNTL) campaign using the Melaka eXcess digital platform,” he said.
For the record, 3.01 million tourists visited Melaka in the first six months of this year, and the state government is targeting 5.6 million tourist arrivals for the entire year. Melaka recorded 18.73 million tourist arrivals in 2019. — BERNAMA