Monday, March 1

PM to declare Melaka as ‘developed state’ on Oct 20

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KUALA LUMPUR: Melaka will be declared a “developed state” come Oct 20 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The declaration will be done “online” from Kuala Lumpur, said Melaka Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam.

The quest to get developed status for the state under a 10-year plan known as Melaka Maju 2010 had been achieved after the state had met the 32 criteria set by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development to qualify as a developed economy, he said on the “Helo Malaysia” talkshow on Bernama TV last night.

OECD is a grouping of the world’s 33 richest countries with the highest per GDP.

The country with the lowest per capita GNP in the OECD is Turkey at US$13,000 while that of Melaka had already reached US$14,261.

“In just 10 years, which is a relatively short time, Melaka had succeeded in meeting the criteria set by the OECD, which is headquartered in Paris. This is something very encouraging,” said Ali.

He said the improving quality of life in Melaka had been proven in that its poverty rate had dropped to 0.5 per cent this year from 5.4 per cent in 2000.

In line with the establishment of the Energy, Green Energy and Water Ministry by the prime minister, Ali said Melaka aspired to be a green technology city state in 10 years by emphasising the use of renewable energy like solar and reducing pollution.

“We have invested RM3.2 billion in a solar cell energy plant, Sun Power from the United States, in Rumbia.

In the next 10 years, the Rumbia industrial estate is poised to be a solar valley with industries and housing using solar energy,” he said.

Ali said a 120 hectare site in Bemban would be turned into a green city with houses, offices and institutions using alternative energy like solar. He said the state government had already bought several electric cars in efforts to reduce carbon emissions in tourist areas.

On Melaka’s economy, he said the participation of bumiputeras in the last 10 pears had been encouraging, especially in the tourism sector and in retailing.

Ali said the services sector, comprising tourism, education and healthcare, contributed to 70 percent of the state’s economy.

On tourist arrivals, he said Melaka attracted 8.9 million tourists last year from 1.7 million 10 years ago and the target this year was expected to exceed nine million tourists.

On the 2011 Budget, Ali hoped that Melaka would be given funds to develop its infrastructure and facilities, including lighting up the entire Malacca beach.

As for the introduction of a 1.6 km monorail service in the tourist belt along the Melaka River between the Hang Tuah Bride and Hang Jebat Bridge, he said the operators were awaiting licensing approval so that it could operate soon.  —   Bernama