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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sime Darby among firms keen to develop Jerejak

SIME Darby Bhd is one out of four investors that are keen to develop Pulau Jerejak in Penang.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday said the other three investors are foreigners which will be backing local firms.

The foreign parties are from the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

Without revealing details, he said Sime Darby plans to invest in a tourism-related project and this is linked to the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).

"We have received tremendous interest for the holistic development of Pulau Jerejak from Middle Eastern investors and Sime Darby is the first local conglomerate to express its interest," Lim told a press conference at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak after receiving Sime Darby's president and group chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid.

Present was Invest-in-Penang Bhd executive committee chairman Datuk Lee Kah Choon.

The NCER blueprint which was launched last year by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi states that Pulau Jerejak, which once served as a penal and leper colony, has been earmarked for a premier medical tourism centre.

The 362-hectare island, which is off the coast of Penang island, has so far seen only 32ha jointly developed by the Penang Development Corp and USA Holdings in the form of the Jerejak Resort and Spa.

Lim said the development of Pulau Jerejak would run into billions of ringgit and would span 10 years.

"The state government will likely open a tender for this project by the end of the year and all interested parties can forward their proposals then," he added.

Meanwhile, asked to comment on a news report that monorail system supplier Scomi Engineering Bhd is still keen on Penang, Lim said:

"Who is going to fund this monorail system? Previously, the federal government said it would fund the capital expenditure for this project but it has since said no."

By New Straits Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

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