KUALA LUMPUR – The date 20 Oct 2010 denoted another historic timeline for the state of Melaka when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak declared Melaka as a developed state.
This achievement is the clearest indication that the state government is capable of providing the best environment for its people. Its many sterling achievements are something to be proud off but where is the state heading after this?
Charting the next course for the state has always been in the mind of Melaka’s Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron right from the day he took the oath of office on May 7, 2013, after the 13th General Election.
“I never thought that I will take over as the chief minister. When the reporters asked me what would be my plans for Melaka after my appointment, I had only one thing in my mind – to continue and further improve the existing plans.
“To me this itself is a major undertaking as Melaka was already far ahead and going further has its own challenges,” he said in an interview with Bernama recently.
IT IS NOT EASY
According to Idris, the best party to gauge on the state’s development and the tangible benefits that came along with development were the people themselves.
In taking Melaka to the next level, the chief minister had this to say; “It is even more difficult to maintain the outstanding achievement in so far, what else to go even further.
“Finally, I came up with the second phase of the Melaka Development Plan covering a duration of 10 years up to 2025 with the goal of achieving sustainable economy and its people enjoying high income,” he said.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF THE SECOND PHASE
Speaking of the second phase of Melaka Development Plan, Idris said four pillars have been established with the first being the public and private sector agencies rolling out services of the highest quality to fulfil the aspirations of the people.
The second pillar emphasizes on the systems and mechanisms that have to be put in place to take service delivery to the highest level.
“Under the third pillar we have to make sure that the surroundings are always conducive so that those who come here will be happy and will always think of returning.
“The fourth pillar is changing the current mindset of the people in Melaka to the one of a developed nation,” he said.
According to Idris, under the second phase the state has been moving towards establishing numerous economic cooperation with the most significant one being with China’s Guangdong province under the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative.
Melaka has attracted investments worth RM22.5 billion since Idris took over the helms and the investments brought numerous employment opportunities for the locals.
“Melaka has always been the choice for investors. The Melaka Gateway is expected to receive RM40 billion in 25 years, the Melaka Impression, a cultural presentation programme, could easily draw 1.2 million tourists.
“Xinyi Glass invested RM2.8 billion in Melaka along with Edra Energy that invested RM4.5 billion, this can clearly be seen by the people. All this took place due to the dynamic relations between the state and the federal governments,” he said.
Looking at the state’s economy, in 2013 Melaka’s economic growth was 2.4 percent and with the efforts taken the economic growth reached 4.5 percent in 2016.
Apart from that the GDP that increased from RM27.9 billion in 2013 to RM33.2 billion in 2016.
The service sector including the services involving tourism have been the biggest contributor to the state government (45.6 percent) followed by the manufacturing sector (40.9 percent).
Idris said the number of tourists arriving in Melaka rose to 16.79 million in 2017 compared with 16.28 million in 2016 and 15.74 million in 2015.
The increasing figures, he said, goes to prove Melaka has everything needed to draw more tourists.
Idris noted that; “Khazanah Research Institute reported that Melaka has been churning out more affordable homes compared with Penang administered by the opposition,” he said.
Under the People’s Housing Project and the Affordable Housing Project that has been ongoing since 2014, the state government has built 6,309 houses with another 3,778 built by the Federal Government.
The Basic Data on Melaka states that about 5,773 homes are under construction by the federal government while 18,582 units by the state government, while another 18,379 units under the state government’s planning and another 9,750 units by the federal government.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE
Idris noted that the outcome of the second phase Melaka Development plan could also be seen from the improving quality of life of the people, a testament that the BN government works hard for the well-being of the people
He said the income divide between city and rural dwellers in Melaka is 0.08, a very small difference due to the rapid economic expansion and improving road networks that further closed the gap between both sides.
Apart from that, the unemployment rate in Melaka also came down to 0.7 percent in 2017 compared with 0.9 percent in 2016.
The per capita income in Melaka has risen to RM41,363 in 2016 compared with RM35,699 in 2013.
“Another indicator of well-being is the increase in the quantum of Zakat collected in Melaka, in fact there are 162 people who pay more than RM25,000 in zakat. This means we have 162 millionaires compared with 16 in 2004,” he said.
Also, the amount of zakat collected in Melaka in 2016 was RM70.5 million compared with RM66 million in 2015 and RM58.3 million in 2014.
THE INTERNATIONAL MODEL
Idris pointed out phase two of the Melaka Development Plan also emphasized on the development based on green technology and sustainable city that has been drawing international attention.
In fact, he also presented a working paper on the initiative during conferences in 20 countries, among them Belgium, Germany, England, Thailand and Singapore.
Melaka also earned numerous international accolades including the “Green Apple Awards” for prioritising the development of green technology and the “Top 10 Must Visit Place” by Lonely Planet.
“All this is being done for the sake of the people. So I believe the people have seen all these achievements and will continue their support for BN during GE14,” he said ending the interview.- BERNAMA