Aiming for accelerated growth – (from left) Dato’ Haji Wan Nawawi, Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif, Speaker for the Terengganu State Legislative Assembly Dato Mohamad Zubir Embong and PEMANDU’s director for Communication, Content and Infrastructure (CCI) National Key Economic Area (NKEA) Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek.
Terengganu is set to become the first state in Malaysia to use a transformation laboratory initiative known as Big Fast Results (BFR) to boost its economy and help reach its gross domestic product (GDP) target of RM33 billion by 2020 – a 53% hike from RM21.57 billion last year.
The state also hopes to increase household income by a whopping 90% in the next five years, from RM4,205 to RM8,000, using the same initiative, which was formulated by the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU).
BFR is a structured and aggressive exercise used in transformation lab to ensure impactful and immediate result via a comprehensive assessment of initiatives right to its smallest components.
It also helps cultivate collaboration between ministries, government agencies and stakeholders, both public and private, to define clear targets, direction and allocation of resources.
The transformation lab, part of the numerous efforts under the New Terengganu Transformation Programme, is critical to ensure that the state does not continue to lag behind in terms of development, said State Financial Officer Dato’ Haji Wan Nawawi Ismail, adding that the lab will hopefully drive the GDP growth to 8% in 2020 from 5% last year.
“In the last five year, Terengganu has only achieved a dismal 5% growth and if this goes on, the state will continue being a few steps behind others despite its rich resources,” he said in the opening address during the launch of the state’s Transformation Laboratory initiative in Kuala Lumpur recently. He was speaking on behalf of the State Secretary Datuk Mazlan Ngah, who was not able to attend the event.
The transformation lab, jointly organised by the state with PEMANDU, brought together 150 participants from both the government and the private sector. The six-week long lab will push participants to examine issues plaguing the state’s economy while identifying new initiatives and projects to accelerate development.
Wan Nawawi said that the state’s transformation programme, which was kick-started last year by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman, is a comprehensive initiative that involves political, social and economic transformation.
“It is an on-going exercise that will continue despite the current unfavourable economic condition because any delay would adversely affect the ability of the state to achieve its five-year economic target,” he said.
Terengganu Chief Minister Ahmad Razif, when launching the programme, called it an “out-of-the-box initiative that urges the state to look for solutions from within and industry players, instead of relying on the help of outside consultants.”
He said currently the state is overly dependent on petroleum and gas revenue, which currently contributes 85% to the state coffers, adding that there is a critical need to boost other sectors and find new economic drivers.
These sectors targeted under the state’s transformation programme include tourism; manufacturing; oil and gas; biotechnology, communications, information content and emerging technologies; and small and medium enterprise.
Ahmad Razif also hoped that the transformation lab would provide a much-needed platform to push both government and private sectors to work together on long-term economic solutions via Entry Point Projects and the establishment of the “Terengganu Key Economic Area”.
He said that currently the economic development in Terengganu is being spearheaded by the state government with minimal participation from the private sector.
“We need more private sector participation, especially government-linked companies, to create more jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people through entrepreneurial incentive programmes so that these talents would stay back to help develop the state.”
Ahmad Razif also spoke on the empowerment of the rural population through projects that elevate their socio-economic status. One such project is the Aquapolitan initiative, which is expected to positively alter the state’s fishing industry landscape.
“The Aquapolitan project is based on the FELDA settlement formula, which has been successful in improving the standard of living for farmers. This will provide our fishermen and the industry a much needed and long overdue boost,” he said, adding that Kampung Seberang Pok Abu, Seberang Takir, has been selected for the state’s pilot Aquapolitan project.
Just like the FELDA settlements, the proposed fishing settlements will be equipped with the relevant infrastructure and amenities like education centre, high-technology factories to process sea produce as well as access to high-tech fishing techniques and equipment, while creating an eco-system that enables fishermen to take part in downstream activities, in order to increase their revenue streams.