IPOH, Dec 11 — The European Union (EU) has chanelled a grant of about RM9.5 million to Antwerp-Bruges International (PoABI) and the Perak State Development Corporation (PNKPk) says Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.

He said the grant was aimed at conducting studies on Malaysia’s attractiveness in the port and maritime sector and drawing data on its suitability as an international logistics and transport centre.

He said the awarding of the grant from the EU was an important achievement that proved the country’s importance as a major investment destination.

“In addition to helping Lumut achieve its potential as the main driving force for the inclusive and sustainable development of the state of Perak, the state’s wealth of natural resources and the availability of infrastructure are complemented by the development of the Lumut Maritime Industrial City (LuMIC).

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“The relationship with PoABI attracted the EU to the state to conduct a comprehensive study,” he said during a press conference after the announcement of the grants today.

Also present at the ceremony were PoABI managing director Kristof Waterschoot and PKNPk chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq Abdul Razak.

Commenting further, Saarani said the comprehensive study included nine assessments with four initial assessments focusing on Malaysia in general to attract potential investments from the EU or other foreign investors.

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He said the remaining five assessments would focus on preparing the roadmap to make Lumut the gateway to the country

He said the study had begun last September and would take 18 months to be completed.

Meanwhile, Saarani said the Joint Venture Shareholders’ Agreement (JVSA) to establish LuMIC Development Sdn Bhd (LuMIC DevCo) was also signed to develop and manage LuMIC in an integrated manner.

He said the JVSA was a new phase of collaboration between PKNPk and PoABI in making the LuMIC initiative a success by making Perak a leading maritime and logistics hub while taking advantage of socio-economic growth opportunities.

“The strategic collaboration between PKNPk and PoABI to establish LuMIC and make a new regional hub in the Strait of Malacca is part of the effort to achieve the vision of Prosperous Perak 2030, in line with the commitment to become a premier maritime centre in addition to creating an investor-friendly environment,” he said. — Bernama