KUALA LUMPUR – Excellent cooperation and understanding between the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal and state governments has led Melaka to chalk up increased employment opportunities and per capita income brought on by rising investments and an influx of tourists.
The tourists have not only boosted tourism-related services and job opportunities, but also encouraged youths from all multi-ethnic groups to seek employment within the state rather than migrate elsewhere, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, said in an interview today.
Melaka has the capacity to deliver services to an increasing number of tourists making a beeline to the state, which in turn offers youths opportunities to open restaurants, food and drinks stalls selling coconut shake for example, as well as other related income-generating activities.
Such positive economic indicators also narrowed the income gap between those in the rural and urban areas and enriched the state’s coffers, he said in a statement containing excerpts of the interview.
As a result, Melaka’s unemployment rate had declined to 0.9 per cent – which could be considered full employment while per capita income rose to RM48,000 from RM32,000.
Idris said the unemployment rate had declined 1.2 per cent to 0.9 per cent last year, but I understand that unemployment had further decreased to 0.7 per cent as of late.
“We wouldn’t have reached these milestones without the excellent cooperation and understanding between the BN federal and state governments.
“Proper planning and working in sync with the federal government has enabled the state machinery to formulate strategies and put in place initiatives that bore fruit in generating employment, raising income levels and boosting investment,” he added.
This was also made possible through intense monthly meetings and get togethers between all relevant agencies and departments where officers were able to update each other of the latest developments in any initiative, programme or projects undertaken.
That is why criticism, if any, that the Melaka state government was not functioning efficiently and effectively, was misplaced because it would not be able to achieve the desired results in bringing about benefits to the people.
Touching on tourism, Idris said Melaka’s population was only 950,000, but increased to between 1.2 million to 1.3 million every week due to an influx of tourists.
Some 16.8 million tourists visit Melaka annually.
Against such a scenario, the Chief Minister said Melaka’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased to RM40 billion, while foreign investments ballooned to a whopping RM22.5 billion in just four-and-a-half years, which in the process generated numerous jobs, including for graduates.
Power company Edra, for instance, will make available 1,200 jobs through the period of construction for local expertise and youths.
Idris said subsidiaries of the state government, such as Pelaburan Melaka Bhd, would analyse investment proposals from investors with a keen eye on the number of jobs that can be generated in the state.
He said development on either side of the proposed coastal highway from Kuala Linggi to Masjid Tanah and Teluk Mas would provide 10,000 job opportunities in that area, which works out to 50,000 jobs in the next five years.
As part of additional initiatives under the BN manifesto launched a few days ago, it was announced that the coastal highway would be linked to the Banting-Taiping highway which was already under construction. It is a a move that will bring immensely more visitors to the historical city.
“Thanks to Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, the coastal highway project will serve as a catalyst for the economic development of Melaka.
“This together with an influx of foreign investments and tourism development into the state over the past few years will enhance employment opportunities for more than 50,000 workers,” Idris said.