Prelude to NCER (Press 11-25jul07)

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Information about Prelude to NCER (Press 11-25jul07)

Published on July 30, 2007

Author: myPajamanation



Press clips on Northern Corridor Economic Region covering the states of Perlis, Kedah and Penang and northern region of Perak, launched on 30jul07. Press clips cover news published for a period of two weeks from 11 JUL until 25 JUL 2007. (Kawasan Ekonomi Koridor Utara)

Pulau Pinang Gerbang Utama Import, Eksport  th  Berita Harian, Nasional, Pg. 4, 25  July 2007

Beri Peluang Kedua Kepada Belia Tercicir  th  Utusan Malaysia, Page 14, 24  July 2007

Pelan NCER Dilancar Akhir Bulan  th  Berita Minggu, Nasional, Pg. 8, 15  July 2007

China Biaya Jambatan Kedua  th  Berita Harian , Nasional Pg. 8 , 14  July 2007

Kualiti Hidup Rakyat Terus Meningkat  th  Berita Harian, Rencana, Pg.9, 24  July 2007

Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang Majukan Koridor Utara  th  Utusan Malaysia , Ekonomi Pg. 20 , 14  July 2007

More Needed Than Just New Buses And Drivers  th  The Sun, Speakl Up, Pg. 20, 17  July 2007

Pembinaan Lebuh Raya Banting­Taiping Perlu Disegerakan  th  Kosmo, Negara, Pg. 9, 25  July 2007

North Corridor Blueprint Set For Launch  th  The Malaysian Reserve, Corporate, Pg. 2, 16  July 2007

RapidPenang Ready To Hit The Streets On July 31  th  New Straits Times, Prime News, Pg. 10, 17  July 2007

‘No Increase In Fares For New Bus Service’  th  The Sun, News Without Borders, Pg. 7, 17  July 2007

China Tawar RM 2.7 Billion  th  Harian Metro , Bisnes Pg. 30 , 14  July 2007

Pelancaran NCER Ransang Pasaran  th  Berita Harian, Ekonomi, Pg. 20, 25  July 2007

Walking The Talk  th  The Edge Malaysia , Cover Story, Pg. 79, 16  July 2007 (From Pg.78)

Get Involved In Growth Corridors  rd  The Star, Nation, N4, 23  July 2007

Sime The ‘Foreign’ Investor In NCER  rd  The Sun, News Without Borders, Pg. 17, 23  July 2007

Northern Corridor ‘To Help 63,000 Farmers’  th  New Straits Times, Prime News Pg.4, 17  July 2007

More economic growth corridors to be launched New Straits Times, Prime News, Pg. 2, 11th July 2007

Manfaat Projek Koridor Utara Tingkat Taraf Hidup  th  Berita Harian, Rencana, Pg. 8, 16  July 2007

Penang Can Be Logistics Hub For Northern Corridor: Koh  th  The Malaysian Reserve, Corporate Malaysia, Pg. 6, 16  July 2007

Take Advantage Of Growth Corridors, Co­Ops Told  rd  New Straits Times, Ptimr News, Pg. 4, 23  July 2007

Nor Mohamed: Cheaper Rides On Rapid Penang Buses  th  The Star, Nation, Pg.N22, 17  July 2007

Welli aims to sell halal items to OIC countries New Straits Times, Business Times, Pg. 54, 13th July 2007

Business July 21, 2007 10:32 AM Big Plans To Modernise Rural Farming Up North By Salbiah Said and Massita Ahmad KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's vision for a holistic approach in the agriculture sector will become a reality once the initiatives aimed at boosting the industry under a masterplan for the Northern Corridor (NC) swing into action. The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) masterplan, to be unveiled by the Prime Minister in Kedah on July 30, among others, outlined key strategies to spur growth in the agriculture sector, which is commonly associated with the rural population and traditional farmers. Datuk Ahmad Zubir Murshid, group chief executive of Sime Darby Bhd, the architect of the masterplan, said a major thrust will be to boost rural incomes of the farmers by redesigning farming, distribution and marketing. The masterplan is targeted to raise the average farmers' income to above RM1,500 per month by 2012 from less than RM500 in 2005, in line with its objectives of poverty eradication and economic growth, Ahmad Zubir said. Under the plan, which covers Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak, the issue of fragmented land ownership will be dealt with by creating cooperative-style outfits, he said in an exclusive two-hour interview with Bernama recently. LACK OF CONTIGUOUS AGRICULTURE LAND Ahmad Zubir said much of the land in the NCER remains unused or underutilised, with 52 percent of it is now being gazetted as environmentally sensitive areas. quot;If we look at it (NC), we lack large parcels of contiguous agriculture land. No big piece of land. Only 48 percent is available land. About 40 percent of NCER land is for agriculture and the balance (52 percent) is under forest reserve,quot; he said. Of the 52 percent, five percent is for water bodies and four percent for built-up area for other industries and housing. One of the major challenges of the NCER plan is the issue of private landownership.

About 40 percent of NCER land is for agriculture but 83 percent or 800,000 hectares are private smallholdings, Ahmad Zubir said. quot;This is the problem. That is why it is not possible to have large scale farming, because 83 percent of that 40 percent is individually-owned. quot;If you take paddy, the average farmer owns about one hectare... it's about 2.2 acres only. It's not very big,quot; he said. KEY THRUSTS OF NCER BLUEPRINT quot;That's the biggest challenge in terms of doing scale farming. The land is too small to introduce mechanisation. This is where in our NC, our major proposal is to introduce mini-estate cooperative scale farming,quot; said Ahmad Zubir. Under the plan, landowners will not be asked to sell their land but instead will be encouraged to appoint a professional company to manage their land in return for a fixed monthly salary and profit-sharing from the produce. The plan, among others, proposes the introduction of modern agriculture methods, expanding agro-based processing activities, introducing new crops and facilitating the use of technology and best practices. The NCER is one of the economic regions identified under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. To be developed over 20 years, the plan is aimed at achieving a balanced and equitable economic development in the four states, with three key economic thrusts -- agriculture, manufacturing and services. The main crops cultivated within the NCER are paddy, (28 percent), rubber (three percent), oil palm (66 percent) and sugar cane (three percent). INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE IMPROVED Improving the infrastructure is another key thrust of the NCER blueprint. Ahmad Zubir said there are 40,000 hectares of non-irrigated paddy land outside the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) and the Integrated Agriculture Development Project (IADP), where farmers own less than one hectare each and can plant only one crop cycle a year, producing less than three tonnes per hectare. quot;This 40,000-hectare land is the area that we really need to improve, such as the irrigation water management aspect,quot; he said. quot;Our system of irrigation is not fully integrated. When there is heavy rainfall, 70 to 80 percent of our water flows into the sea. When there is drought, the whole place, even the canals, dries up. quot;What we we would like to introduce is the closed-circuit system. There will be layers of

canal irrigation system where the water will be kept and some of the bigger canals can be used for fish farming,quot; he said. REVITALISING AGRICULTURE SECTOR Ahmad Zubir, the masterplanner of the NCER plan, gave further insights of the development plan. Following are excerpts of the interview: Q: What are the areas that you are looking at in terms of revitalising the agriculture sector? Ahmad Zubir: In agriculture sector, poverty is still an issue, national food security is also an issue. Besides that, we must look at the downstream industry. This is the agropark processing area. This is what PM always say... we must have an agro processing park, that is, to produce this product. Paddy for instance... we just convert paddy into rice, basically there is no by-product. In Japan, they have paddy husks that can be converted into other by-products... paper from paddy... again, this is the waste-to-wealth concept. This again PM is encouraging us to look at the waste-to-wealth concept, that is by- products of paddy for instance... if not, paddy farmers will become just paddy farmers. We don't have the by-products or the downstream business. PROMOTING DOWNSTREAM Q: How do you plan to do this? Ahmad Zubir: We put it in three phases. First, bringing the investors in, bringing people to look at commercial crops, improving the set-up of downstream and also having brand creation here. Then we want to get local participation and we want to expand the downstream and making more people involved in R&D (research and development) and branding, and finally we want to go for global. One day, we can have our own Malaysian brand. These are some of the programmes. Programme I, promoting commercial farming in partnership with the local community, that is, through the cooperative, land owners together with us and have contract farming, and linking back to the major hypermarket. And also having the products processed. Programme II is looking at new crops... these are some of the activities that we are looking at. It is all not quot;casting stonequot; some of the fruits like mangoes, durians, dragon fruits, even grapes... PM mentioned grapes in Perlis. There are grapes in Perlis. And then corn, potatoes and so on so forth. These are the potential areas... these we have visited and some of the areas are suitable

for cultivation of these crops. From here, we are not just producing. We must go into the agro-industrial downstream, that is, once you start to produce, it can become food or non- food. MARKETING, DISTRIBUTION AND BRANDING So we must not look at just food but also develop the non-food aspect of it. This is the downstream activity that we are saying... like potatoes. People talk about chips and fries, but we can also go into bio-plastic and bio-degradable packaging now. This is the hi-tech (aspect) that we are looking at... the value added... not just the food but the non-food as a potential... corn for instance... the bio-fuel bio-plastic is also a potential here. For these, we must have branding (Programme III). In order for us to have value added, we must look at branding... here we are working with the various agencies and also coordinating with MAFC (Malaysian Agricultural Food Corporation), Khazanah (Nasional Bhd)'s marketing channel. So we are complementing each other. We need to improve the marketing and distributing channel so we start from backward onwards... we make sure we have got this in place before we go to this... we will make sure we have the right distribution channel and we also need to do branding. Look at the famous California grapes, New Zealand beef... we must have branding in order to value add our products, otherwise, our products will always be compared to other cheap ones such as beef from India which is very cheap and we'll never be able to market our products at higher prices. These are areas that we are looking at. We must rely on the hypermarket to make sure our agriculture products are marketable... that is the kebun (farm) to kilang (factory) concept. Kilang means processing as well as the hypermarket. SEED TECHNOLOGY When we talk about agriculture, you have to have the full value chain. First, you have to have the seed in control. Two, you must have the processing, the value added. Three, you must have the distribution and marketing and four, you must have branding. If you don't have your brand, you will be at the mercy of people like Wal-Mart, Tesco, Giant and so on. They will buy your material as cheaply as possible and brand it as theirs. For example, Malaysian rambutans have been packaged as Singapore lychees. Q: Besides preparing the blueprint, what's Sime Darby's role in the NCER? Ahmad Zubir: We are looking at seed technology. We are looking at investing in seed technology with a foreign partner. We are developing a seed R&D centre in Perlis to provide the good quality seed and also to develop seeds for the region. At the same time, we must strengthen the incentives to encourage agriculture downstream

activities. We are looking at introducing more agropreneurs to get people involved to participate in this. We are looking at the commercial agriculture, that is, getting big companies involved in the downstream and also participating in the upstream, that is, in large scale farming. Q: How much are you investing? Ahmad Zubir: We are investing about RM25 million for the seed project in Perlis. PM will announce during the launch the partner that we are going to work with in Perlis. Perlis has been identified for the seed culture industry, because of its climatic and soil conditions. Globally, the seed industry is valued at some US$26 billion (about RM90 billion) and controlled by five players. We are not even there. Besides that, Perlis will have a climatic fruits cluster for vines such as grapes. We are also looking at setting up cattle rearing (feedlots and cattle integration) in Selama in a joint venture with Permodalan Nasional Bhd, with investment of over RM20 million. AGRICULTURE FACULTY Q: How do you plan to utilise the unused land? Ahmad Zubir: Currently we have identified more than 3,500 hectares of unused land which can be converted back for agriculture use. Some of these are also industrial land supposed to be allocated for industrial estate but hardly being utilised. We are asking the states why not allow us to use this for agriculture use. And one area being in the agriculture area... there is no faculty of agriculture in the north... You have Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Sains Malaysia. But none specialises in agriculture. So what we are recommending perhaps Universiti Putra in Serdang can have a faculty there. We are also encouraging scholarships so that more people take up agriculture and agrifood business. Other areas that we are looking at include provision of shared infrastructure, like working with government agencies for agriculture, fishing, aquacentre, rubber processing cluster and animal husbandry production centre. These we want to encourage. -- BERNAMA

Logistic Hub For Northern Economic Region  th  The Edge Malaysia , Corporate Pg. 74, 16  July 2007 (From Front Page)

Kekayaan Negara Diagih Secara Menyeluruh  th  Berita Harian, Nasional, Pg. 4, 25  July 2007

Pengangkutan Awam Bersepadu Di Pulau Pinang  th  Berita Harian , Nasional, Pg. 13, 17  July 2007

3 koridor pembangunan akan dilancar Utusan Malaysia, Dalam Negeri, Pg. 2, 11th July 2007

Page 1 of 2 Nestle, Tesco deal directly with farmers to bring down prices FOOD giant Nestle has plans on what it wants to implement under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) project. Its manager for agricultural services, Yong Lee Keng, said Nestle is conducting research and development (R&D) with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) on red rice. quot;Once the seeds are released, we will work with Sime Darby Bhd and implement the project in Kedah. We expect it to begin in mid-2008,quot; he said in Petaling Jaya. Nestle, he said, was also looking into semi-aerobic farming with Mardi under the NCER. This is the recommended worldwide padi-planting practice to reduce greenhouse emissions and conserve water at the same time. quot;When submerged in water, padi produces greenhouse gases. With semi-aerobic farming, you use a damp surface instead. quot;If we use full-aerobic farming, the yield would be very low. This way, we don’t significantly lower the yield. Sometimes, the yield is higher.quot; Yong said Nestle was already practising semi-aerobic farming at its R&D farm in Sik, Kedah, which produces rice for their infant cereal products. Nestle is also sharing its experience with Sime Darby on this. Yong added that contract farming was another viable option for NCER as it provided farmers with a steady income while allowing companies like Nestle to control practices right from the farm level. quot;This allows us to look at food safety and monitor the food ‘from the farm to the fork’. We can control the amount of pesticides used and how it’s sprayed and so on. quot;We can also make sure the environment is not harmed by taking care of the waterways and ensuring the proper disposal of pesticide canisters,quot; he said. Yong said Nestle was the first to start contract farming in 1985 when they decided to stop buying chillies for their famous Maggi Chilli Sauce from wholesalers. quot;When the price was high, the wholesalers would not deliver to us and when the price was very low, they would dump the chillies on us. quot;It was then that we decided to implement the first ever contract farming,quot; he said. Before starting the project, Nestle, together with the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and Mardi, evaluated chillies from all over the world quot;In 1985, we had 10 people from all over the country growing chillies for us. When the problem with the wholesalers occurred, we chose two suppliers. quot;There’s one in Kelantan, which is under the Bukit Awang Farmers Association and another in Perak, an individual entrepreneur,quot; he said. Nestle chose these areas because it wanted to go into the lesser-developed places and provide opportunities to farmers there. Yong said fertigation (application of nutrients through the irrigation system) was also introduced during the flood seasons in Kelantan. He said Nestle provided the market for the goods as well as the technical support while the government is providing the infrastructure for fertigation. quot;By providing the infrastructure for fertigation, the government is allowing private companies like us to venture into contract farming.quot; Another company that supports contract farming is Tesco. A price drop is so unheard of these days that when it happened, there was more disbelief than relief. This was what happened in March last year when Tesco stores in Malaysia brought down the price of prawns from RM15.99 per kg to RM9.99 per kg. Naturally, Tesco had repeat customers and the average prawn price dropped further. Consumers had contract farming to thank for this because when Tesco contract-farmed its prawns, it cut off the middleman — hence the lower price. But price isn’t the sole benefit of contract farming, practised worldwide by Tesco. By determining the standard of fruits, vegetables and meat, it controls quality and food safety — something consumers will appreciate. It even rents baskets and trays for collection to the farmers so that the produce are only handled minimally. Tesco used to source their fresh produce from wholesalers, but when it realised product quality could not be controlled, it got farmers to plant according to its specifications. Now, 20 to 25 per cent of fresh produce including poultry, fruits, vegetables and meat, are contract farmed. Tesco’s corporate and legal affairs director Azlam Shah Alias (picture) says the farms are all over the peninsula, from Johor to Kedah to Terengganu and the company aims to increase the number by 30 per cent. quot;We are negotiating with farmers in Perak to plant lowland vegetables like spinach and sawi,quot; said Azlam. Source: 7/21/2007

Business July 21, 2007 14:54 PM Sime Darby Sees NCER From Foreign Investor Perspective By Salbiah Said and Massita Ahmad KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- Sime Darby Bhd, the masterplanner for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), sees development in the region from the foreign investor perspective. quot;We are a regional player that have successfully invested overseas. You are looking at a local `foreigner' coming back to invest in Malaysia,quot; its group chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid told Bernama in an interview recently. quot;We believe that the government has given us the confidence. It is also in the sense that Sime Darby is a conglomerate and we have vast experience in agriculture,quot; he said. The NCER, which Sime Darby is tasked with drawing up the blueprint, will be covering four states to be combined as one region in the north, namely Perlis, Kedah, Penang and the northern part of Perak. Sime Darby, with plantation, automotive and property as its core businesses, has a good track record around the world, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Australia. Asked how confident Sime Darby was with the NCER, Ahmad Zubir said that both the blueprint and implementation quot;are doablequot;. quot;It is a viable project. We have gone through every potential areas thoroughly. The key success factors would be the implementation, support and buy-in of the public, private sector as well as government agencies,quot; he said. quot;Unlike Petronas and Khazanah which are not public-listed companies, we at Sime Darby have minority shareholders whom we must be responsible for. We have to be totally different,quot; he added. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), the national oil corporation, has been tasked with developing the Eastern Corridor while Khazanah Nasional Bhd looks after the Southern Johor Economic Region, better known as the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

Ahmad Zubir said the NCER was expected to create half a million employment opportunities by 2012 and a million job opportunities by 2020. The economic region, with the four main economic thrusts of agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and human capital, is going to be developed over a period of more than 20 years. Besides being the masterplanner, Sime Darby will also participate in the NCER as an investor after handing over the blueprint to the implementation body, Northern Corridor Implementation Agency (NCIA). As part of the NCER development, the group planned an initial investment of about RM25 million to set up a research centre to develop seed cultivation and production in Perlis, Ahmad Zubir said. quot;We are also looking at setting up cattle rearing (feedlots and cattle integration) in Selama in a joint venture with Permodalan Nasional Bhd with an investment of RM20 over million,quot; he said. Sime Darby is also looking at oil and gas business, which is believed to be related to the US$7 billion Trans-Peninsular Pipeline Project that will link Kedah to Kelantan. quot;We are looking to have a yard in the north. That has not been finalised yet. We are looking at the Yan area (in Kedah),quot; Ahmad Zubir said but declined to provide further details. He also said that Sime Darby took 12 months to complete the blueprint by hiring consultants for each of the potential sectors covering agriculture, manufacturing and services to be developed in the region. Sime Darby is on track to be merged as one entity under Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, together with Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd. Synergy Drive, which will be one of the world's largest plantation groups, is set to be listed on Bursa Malaysia in November this year. --BERNAMA

RapidPenang Set To Commence Operations Next Week  th  The Malaysian Reserve, Corporate Malaysia, Pg. 6, 24  July 2007

‘Butterworth Sentral’ By MRCB  th  The Edge Malaysia , Front Page, Continued on Pg. 74, 16  July 2007  Business  July 16, 2007 16:44 PM  NCER To Push Up Kedah's Agriculture, Industrial,  Tourism Sectors  ALOR STAR, July 16 (Bernama) ­­ The Kedah state government is confident that  the well planned North Corridor Economic Region (NCER) programme, due for  launch end of this month, will bring significant transformation to the state's  agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors.  Menteri Besar Kedah Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said that under the NCER, the  three sectors have been identified for development in the state.  quot;Kedah is already developing the three sectors at the moment but with the NCER,  a greater push will be given to the sectors which will benefit the people and the  state,quot; he told a press conference here Monday to announce the upcoming NCER  programme.  Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is due to launch the NCER plan  during his visit to Kedah this July 30.  Sime Darby Bhd will be the lead agency for the implementation of the NCER which  will cover the planned development of the four northern states of Perak, Penang,  Kedah and Perlis.  The NCER was marked in the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006­2010) to promote a fair  and balanced economic development for the nation.  Mahdzir said the agriculture sector's development will focus on padi cultivation,  livestock and acquaculture.  For the padi sector, the entire areas under the Muda Agricultural Development  Authority will be given a boost in terms of infrastructure starting from water  reservoirs to the irrigation systems.  Apart from that, small time individual padi harvesting would be transformed to  more commercial methods with the concept of padi estates.  In the industrial sector, three existing industrial areas namely Gurun, Sungai  Petani and Kulim will continue to be strengthened while downstream industries will  be created to further boost the sector's development.  The Menteri Besar said a new industrial park will be also created at the Kulim High  Technology Park (KHTP) which currently hosts hundreds of well known companies  from all over the world.

He said the new park will provide support to the KHTP.  quot;In the tourism sector, Langkawi will continue as a main tourism destination and  at the same time efforts will be taken to attract tourists to the mainland of Kedah.  Lembah Bujang, Ulu Muda and Sedim,quot; he added.  ­­ BERNAMA  Copyright © 2007 BERNAMA. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form except with the prior  written permission of BERNAMA. Disclaimer.  Best viewed in Internet Explorer 4.0 & above with 800 x 600 pixels

Revolutionizing Rural Farming  th  The Edge Malaysia, Cover Story, Pg. 80, 16  July 2007 (Continued on Pg. 81)

Giving Needy Students A Leg Up  th  New Straits Times, Prime News, NewsFocus, Pg. 12 (Continued on Pg. 13) 24  July 2007

Blueprint For Northern Corridor  th  New Sunday Times, Prime News, Pg. 4 and Pg. 5, 15  July 2007

Growth Corridor In The North  th  Sunday Star, Focus, F26, 15  July 2007

Northern Corridor To Kick Off End­ July  th  Financial Daily, Home Business, Pg. 5, 16  July 2007

Sweet Option For Farmers  nd  Sunday Star, Focus, F31, 22  July 2007

Walking The Talk  th  The Edge Malaysia, Cover Story, Pg. 78, 16  July 2007 (Continued on Pg. 79)

Walking The Talk  th  The Edge Malaysia , Cover Story Pg. 83 From Pg. 79 , 16  July 2007

Companies To Watch In Penang Property Play  th  The Edge Malaysia, Cover Story, Pg. 82, 16  July 2007

Lembah Bujang Dinaik Taraf  th  Utusan Malaysia, Page 14, 24  July 2007

Economist Intelligence Unit Business Roundtable, From Pg. 2  th  New Straits Times, Business Times, Pg. 40, 11  July 2007

NCER­ Sektor Agro­ Pelancongan Turut Dapat Manfaat  th  Utusan Malaysia, Page 14, 24  July 2007

Bridging The Gap  rd  The Star, StarBiz China, B22, 23  July 2007

Everybody Will Have a Role To Play  th  The Edge Malaysia , Cover Story Pg. 83 , 16  July 2007 (From Pg. 81)

Teroka Keistimewaan Dusunstay  th  Kosmo, Negara, Pg 9,25  July 2007

Penang Bridge Loan Deal Signed (Part 1)  th  The Star , Nation Pg. N3 , 14  July 2007

5 Strategi Capai K­Pengetahuan  th  Berita Minggu, Nasional, Pg. 6, 16  July 2007

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