MELAKA, Sept 22 — Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone (M-WEZ) will prove to be a “big move” and a game changer for the state’s development over the next 25 to 30 years, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali said.
Sulaiman (BN-Lendu) said the project has the potential to strengthen Melaka as a tourism-based state with the integration of new features such as an international tourism centre, a smart city-based commercial centre, Industrial Revolution 4.0, a marina logistics centre, a modern lifestyle cultural centre, and more.
“Generally, the economic corridors established in the various states emphasise promoting a balanced and equal economic development in the country.
“We realised that Melaka was not included in any of the nation’s existing economic corridors such as Iskandar Development Region (Johor), Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley, Northern Corridor Economic Region, East Coast Economic Region and Malaysia Vision Valley (Negri Sembilan),” he said.
The chief minister said this at the tabling of Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone Corporation Bill 2021 for the second reading at the state legislative assembly in Seri Negeri Complex here today.
Sulaiman said the M-WEZ development would complement existing economic regions and improve the socio-economic status of the local people.
He said the creation of M-WEZ has taken into account waterfront development examples in other places such as Dubai, Hong Kong, and Toronto, Canada.
“Overall, M-WEZ is focusing on waterfront development in the existing reclaimed sea area of 10,117.14 hectares starting from Pantai Puteri to Umbai along 33km of the coast of Melaka.
“Of this total area, 3,035.14 hectares have been designated as controlled zones while the remaining 7,081.99 hectares are development zones that will be the ‘economy enabler’ for Melaka,” he said.
Sulaiman said the state government is also aiming for high impact investments worth RM100 billion through the establishment of M-WEZ which would expand the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) by five per cent or RM2 billion annually.
“M-WEZ is also expected to create 5,000 new job opportunities annually and contribute to the increase in income for the local people,” he added.
The sea reclamation project is also anticipated to reduce the impact of urbanisation following a sharp increase in the state’s urbanisation rate to 95 per cent in 2020 compared to 23 per cent in 1980.
“With limited land for development land, the population density of Melaka was ranked sixth highest at 544 people per square kilometre compared to other states in Malaysia.
“It clearly shows the need for the state government to find new alternative sources to accommodate the population density for long-term planning by focusing on the waterfront economic development, which only made up a reclamation ratio of 2.16 per cent compared to the total 2,270 square km land area in Melaka,” he said.
The motion was supported by State Works, Transport, Public Facilities and Infrastructure Exco Datuk Roslan Ahmad (BN-Merlimau) and debated by opposition leader Adly Zahari (PH-Bukit Katil), Datuk Hasan Abd Rahman (BN-Sungai Rambai), Low Chee Leong (PH-Kota Laksamana) and Datuk Zaidi Attan (BN-Serkam).
The bill was approved after receiving 16 votes in favour compared to 11 votes against while one state assemblyman was absent. — Bernama