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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

EPU deputy D-G: Urban centres to drive growth

PENANG: The urban areas of Penang, Johor Baru, and Kuala Lumpur will be important drivers of economic growth in the country, said Economic Planning Unit deputy director-general Datuk K. Govindan.

“Besides modern agriculture, a key driver of economic growth, the urban areas would see the development of more financial, medical and logistic projects that would spur the country’s economy.

“These projects would create the need for specialists in different professional fields, which drive the growth of other economic sectors,” he said at the sidelines of the NCER: Seizing The Opportunities symposium.

“We are trying to achieve a 7% (annual) growth for the country’s economy in the near future, as there are some 380,000 youth entering the labour force yearly.

“In 2006, about 260,000 jobs were created, which was not sufficient.

From left: Datuk K. Govindan, Wan Azrain Wan Adnan, Institute of Startegic and International Studies chairman and CEO Datuk Seri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan and NCER Research Centre director Assoc Prof Zulkhairi Md Dahalin

“New urban projects such as the Penang Global City Centre that are now being planned would help accelerate economic growth and create new employment opportunities,” he said.

Govindan said Penang already had the infrastructure for free industrial zones, a public transportation system, and the history.

“All Penang needs now is a little push for it to leapfrog,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sime Darby Bhd manager Wan Azrain Wan Adnan said the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) was implemented to eradicate poverty in the northern region and to raise the standard of living.

“Although there are many other economic corridors, the NCER does not compete with them, as we have different objectives,” he added.

By The Star

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