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Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) is entering the second phase of strengthening private sector participation in the regional economy starting next year (2013).

NCIA is the statutory body responsible for establishing directions, policies and strategies in relation to the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) development programs.

The NCER development encompasses the states of Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Northern Perak with a vision to achieve a world-class economic region by the year 2025.

It aims to become a sustainable economic region empowered by a population living a balanced lifestyle with a holistic approach to business.

The rationale behind NCER is increase the competitiveness of the country in order to facilitate improvement in the standard of living of the nation.

NCER initiative is part of an overall move by the Government to promote balanced development across the different regions in Malaysia, whilst at the same time accelerating Malaysia’s move towards high-value, knowledge-driven economic activities.

Taken in combination, the implementation of the programmes under the NCER initiative targets to increase the Region’s real GDP by 306%, from RM52.7 billion[1] in 2005 to RM214.1 billion in 2025.

This would correspondingly increase real GDP per capita from RM8,988[2]  per annum in 2005 to RM24,582 in 2025.

In terms of employment, dramatic increases in agricultural productivity would increase the ratio of the number of hectares under cultivation in relation to the number of workers required.

Nevertheless, increased land being cultivated and increased manufacturing and services activities will more than compensate, and it is anticipated that employment in the Region would increase from 2.43 million[3] in 2005 to 4.0 million[4]  in 2025.

The NCIA has three-phased approach in its development-planning framework.

NCER development framework aims to deliver on its economic and social objectives by maximising value-add from existing industries in the Region and promoting new sources of growth.

Programmes and projects to enhance human capital, infrastructure, innovation and competitiveness in the Region are projected to involve approximately RM177 billion of public and private sector investment from 2007 to 2025.

It is expected that one-third of the total amount will be spent by the Government, whilst the balance will be undertaken through Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) and private-sector investment.

Within the national setting, the Northern Corridor will be Malaysia’s primary modern food zone, where staple food crops, and high-value fish, meat, fruit and vegetables will be farmed and processed for distribution domestically and for export.

The NCER within regional setting is strategically placed within the IMT-GT (Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle), and should accelerate economic links with Sumatera and Thailand, creating an economic hinterland that would enable the NCER to process, distribute and export products beyond what is farmed or produced within the 4 states.

The NCER within a Global Setting aims to become amongst the world’s top economic regions in terms of electrical and electronics (E & E) production, as well as being a premier food production centre and tourist destination.

NCER has five (5) districts and major city setting namely: Island Corridor, Coastal Corridor, Central Corridor, Hinterland Corridor and Butterworth-Kulim-Baling-Pengkalan Hulu–Grik corridor.

The Island Corridor comprises Langkawi and Pulau Pinang. Both will focus on premier tourism activities and distributive services by virtue of their international airports and sea ports.

Medical services will also be promoted, leveraging on their air connectivity to the IMT-GT and other parts of the world.

The northernmost tip of the Coastal Corridor is the Padang Besar gateway to southern Thailand.

The Coastal Corridor extends through Nibong Tebal, Simpang Empat and Bagan Serai which are predominantly agriculture-based centres.

In Kangar, education services are the major activity with links to Arau and Sintok.

The towns of Kuala Kedah and Kuala Muda are focusing on fisheries, in particular deep sea fishing and marine food processing activities.

Coastal tourism and marine aquaculture activities will feature along the smaller fishing villages and towns.

Yan is designated as the petrochemical complex for the NCER. Initial plans are to build a petroleum refinery and storage facilities in the area.

The Central Corridor is the North-South Expressway, a highway that runs from Ipoh in the south to Bukit Kayu Hitam in the north.

The predominant activity will be the manufacturing corridor from Butterworth/Kulim to Gurun.

The E&E sub-sector and automotive assembly remain the major manufacturing activities in this zone.

Kamunting is another manufacturing cluster mainly for SME businesses involved in supplying to the large E&E companies or downstream agribusinesses.

The Hinterland Corridor starts from Kota Putra and ends in Kuala Kangsar.

The predominant activity is agriculture, ranging from commercial crops (rubber and oil palm) to fruit orchards and animal husbandry.

This corridor will host the envisaged food production zones in view of its predominant agriculture landscape.

Butterworth-Kulim-Baling-Pengkalan Hulu–Grik corridor connects the Butterworth logistics hub to the main industrial cluster in Kulim.

Major east-west roads along this corridor will be upgraded to improve east-west connectivity.



(this article written for 1BINA.my)

[1] 2005 GDP for Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang and Perak (total state) at 1987 prices. Calculated using Malaysian GDP in 2005 at 1987 prices from “The Malaysian Economy in figures, 2006”, published by Economic Planning Unit (EPU); and the state-by-state share of GDP in the same year, p. 32 of the Third Industrial Master Plan (Data Source: EPU). Based on the Eighth Malaysia Plan forecast, the GDP at 1987 prices for the four states = RM64.2 billion

[2] Calculated from Northern Region GDP and Northern Region population (p. 361 of Ninth Malaysia Plan)

[3] Eighth Malaysia Plan forecast

[4] Excludes self-employment