Let’s work together, PM tells Kelantan
KOTA BARU: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, pledging to deliver the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) projects in Kelantan, urged the Kelantan PAS Government not to keep dwelling on the past.
“When I became Prime Minister, I reflected a lot on the east coast region, particularly Kelantan.
“I decided that I am the Prime Minister for all states including Kelantan. I feel there are no reasons why Kelantan must be sidelined because of our political differences.
“Let us work together sincerely and stop dwelling on past mistakes. The ECER is about opportunities and a struggle to attain knowledge,” Abdullah said at the opening of the Kelantan state-level ECER.
Warm welcome: Abdullah greeting Nik Aziz at Padang Komplek Sekolah Sekolah Wakaf Mek Zainab in Kota Baru Monday. — SAZUKI EMBONG / The Star
Abdullah said that Kelantan was included in the ECER and would enjoy the same rights and development benefits as neighbouring Terengganu and Pahang.
Referring to the welcoming speech by Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, he said both sides must work sincerely to develop the state and the east coast region as a whole.
Nik Aziz acknowledged that this was the first time in his political career that he was sharing the platform with senior Umno leaders, and expressed gratitude for this “recognition.”
In his speech laced with religious verses, pantun and cynicism, the Mentri Besar raised doubts over whether the projects under ECER could materialise based on past experiences.
Nik Abdul Aziz said that he was grateful that the state’s Sultan Ismail Petra Airport would be upgraded.
Abdullah said the ECER could attract investors and skilled workers to Kelantan.
He stressed that while some of the ECER projects might seem to be based on old concepts, what was important now was that such projects would be implemented with a value-added dimension and renewed focus.
Under the masterplan drawn up by Petronas, Kelantan’s role in the ECER was to capitalise on its geographical position under the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) project and also reach out to Cambodia and Vietnam.
The 52 ECER economic initiatives for the state include the new Kota Baru waterfront city centre to showcase the state’s rich heritage in culture and handicraft.
There will also be renewed emphasis in tourism with focus given to Kelantan’s natural advantage in eco-tourism.
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