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The Selangor government says it is determined to roll up its sleeves and work overtime to ease its dependency on the manufacturing sector by turning the state into a knowledge-based economy. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim expressed confidence during a news conference today that the state government was already ahead of other states in terms of investments but warned that maintaining itself at number one would not be an easy task. In a press statement by senior state executive councillor Teresa Kok in her blog yesterday, it was disclosed that Selangor had attracted industrial investments worth RM6.76bil with the highest number of industrial projects at 278 and the highest number of job opportunities at over 20,000 in Malaysia last year.

Citing data from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), the Seputeh MP said that the total approved investments exceeded the state’s RM4bil target set for 2009 in light of the present economic downturn. She added that Selangor’s 278 projects accounted for 36.3% of the nation’s total industrial projects with Johor following at 150 projects and Penang at 104 projects. Khalid said today that minus Sarawak’s single aluminium smelting project (which is worth USD2bil or about RM7bil), Selangor topped the list at the highest in industrial investments.

“Being a winner you have to work harder because it is easy to be the black horse but retaining as champions is not easy,” he said after chairing a meeting with technopreneurs at the Selangor State Investment Centre in I-City here. He said that the state government was however willing to “put our feet down, roll up our sleeves and make it happen”. As a show of commitment, Khalid announced that the state government had committed a RM50mil allocation to invest in technopreneur companies taking part in an incubation programme in I-City here.

To facilitate the programme, the country’s first “technopreneur campus” will be set up in I-City, which comprises 72 acres, where the companies will be sited. Khalid also said that the state government was in the process of finalising an agreement with US-based Plug and PlayTech Centre of Silicon Valley to provide the investment and incubation expertise and be the bridge linking local technopreneurs to the US market. “The chief executive officer (of Plug and PlayTech Centre) will be coming here on March 2 and we will be formalising the agreement before we make the announcement,” he said.

Khalid explained that the RM50mil allocation was not an exact amount but a mere commitment from the state to invest in the companies taking part in the programme. Other investors or venture capitalists would later be invited to provide further funding if needed, depending on their interest in the nature of business the technopreneur companies were engaged in. “Once we identify one or two interesting innovations for example, we will sit and get all venture capitalists to discuss and then we will raise the funding for them. They (each company) could need RM1mil or RM2mil to expand,” said Khalid.

The selection of companies in the programme will focus on firms dealing with the development of solutions for digital cities, mobile contents, or products and services in the property and construction related sectors. Khalid said that the state government also recognised the need to provide better infrastructure to facilitate the entire programme. The state,he said, would attempt to accelerate the construction of a direct access link from the Federal Highway into I-City. “This elevate link will improve the traffic flow into this area. “We are looking at various options. Of course, in theory, the link should be built through the Malaysia Plan but while waiting for it, we have already asked the Shah Alam city (council) to look at other ways to build it up,” he said. The construction of the road is expected to cost some RM50mil. -Malaysianinsider


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