IF THERE is anyone who is familiar with the growth of Manjung district, it should be former Lumut MP Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
Kong has, in his three terms as member of parliament for the constituency, witnessed the district progress from a quiet coastal town to a budding new economic area.
“The entire Lumut area, specifically Seri Manjung, Sitiawan and Pangkor Island, has been experiencing high growth in the last 10 years due to development.
“The people who came to invest saw their businesses prosper, attracting more investors to come in,” he said, adding that in order for such a chain reaction to happen, investors had to be able to survive and to make money.
“Otherwise, the economy would be stagnant and no new people would come,” he said.
Kong said that the setting up of the Lumut naval base in 1984 had been a catalyst for growth.
“With the creation of the naval base came an increase in population, which brought about development to cater to the demand for housing, and other services.
“And with the combination of various industries that came later, the economy boomed. All this added synergy to Lumut, which was already a main town in Perak,” said Kong, who was previously housing and local government minister as well as transport minister.
In Kong’s opinion, the rapid growth in the district would continue for another decade.
“There will be more big infrastructure projects. There will be more growth, more investments and job opportunities,” Kong said, adding that among the new industries expected to further change the local economic landscape were plantations, a government power plant project and a glove manufacturing facility by YTY Group.
He said YTY, the world number two latex glove manufacturer with an annual turnover of RM10bil, would easily employ up to 6,000 workers.