KUALA TERENGGANU: The Government has never sought any kind of monetary assistance or even made attempts to borrow from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank to fund various mega projects in the country's development corridors.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his Government would not even try to seek help from these world financial bodies to finance the projects carried out under these corridors.
"The allegations made by certain quarters are lies and it is an attempt to derail what the Government is doing. I am also aware that some had misinterpreted the corridor concept for their own political mileage," he said Saturday at the launch of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Development Council and ECER Incentive Packages at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu here.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said also witnessed the launch.
Abdullah said all programmes initiated in the corridors were small and medium-scale people-centred programmes like education and agricultural programmes.
``Moreover, any large-scale infrastructure programmes are being reviewed by the Economic Planning Unit to ensure only people-centric projects are implemented to uplift the socio-economic level of the rural folk to be on par with those in Klang Valley," he said. Abdullah also announced an investment of RM18bil in ECER to date, especially from Middle East investors who are venturing into mostly agro-based industries. The Prime Minister also announced that Datuk Jebasingam Issace John would be the executive officer of the ECER Development.
Abdullah will preside over the council as chairman while other council members include Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Mentri Besars of Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu and Johor.
The council also consists Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Mohamed Yakcop, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan and industrial captains Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Merican, president of Petronas, and Tan Sri Datuk Lee Shin Cheng, executive chairman of IOI Corporation Berhad. During the event Abdullah also unveiled a package of incentives to promote development and attract more investments into the ECER.
Abdullah said the incentives included a 10-year tax exemption for companies in the tourism sector as well as stamp duty exemption and a 10-year tax exemption for companies investing in petrochemical projects starting from the year revenue is generated.
The Prime Minister said companies investing in the manufacturing sectors would get a five-year tax exemption from the year they start generating revenue.
For the agricultural sector, Abdullah said the Government would provide investors with a 10-year tax exemption starting from the year they generate revenue or 100% tax allowance on qualifying capital expenditure for five years, he said.
Apart from these exemptions from import duty and road tax on raw materials, components, machinery and other related equipment would also be given.
Abdullah added that more goodies and incentives for ECER would be announced later by the development council.
"I am confident that with all the efforts and initiatives being implemented, the ECER would soon become a competitive and progressive economic growth zone for the nation. "Therefore, the Government is inviting all parties to tap the opportunities available in the ECER," Abdullah said.
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