Malaysia yesterday announced 15 initiatives, including nine new projects and seven recaps, as part of its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). According to Prime Minister Najib Razak, the ETP is already bearing fruit despite running for only a short time.

Yesterday’s announcement was the sixth regular update of the ETP, and sees the programme reach 50% (or 65) of its 131 ‘Entry Point Projects’ launched. The 15 new initiatives promise to bring in RM2.77 billion (US$913.8 million) in investment, add RM66.31 billion ($21.87 billion) to Malaysia’s Gross National Income and create 36,595 new jobs by the target year of 2020.

The initiatives (with their national key economic areas) are:

Unified Malaysia Sales (Wholesale & Retail): Combining Malaysia’s three major annual retail sales into one unified event, maximizing tourism potential and offering discounts and special offers in ‘all sectors’ of the economy.

Sime Darby Specialist Hospitals (Healthcare): Two projects here; (1) the Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara (SDMC AD) to specialize in heart, brain, spine and joint diseases and due to open in Q3 2011, and (2) the Sime Darby Medical Centre ParkCity (SDMC ParkCity), a 300 bed hospital specializing in women’s and children’s health with a focus on breast oncology, child development and diabetes treatment–due to begin operations in Q3 2012.

Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing & Development Facility (Healthcare): A Biocon-funded biotechnology park at BioXCell in the Iskandar Malaysia special economic zone in Johor, due to open in 2014.

Premium Health Education Cluster (Education): A 160-acre facility operated by the UCSI Group at Bandar Springhill, Port Dickson. It features Malaysia’s first private university teaching hospital with 1,000 beds, offering premium medical services in several areas and designed to attract medical tourism.

Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) Training Hubs (Education): A consortium of SEGi Education Group and eight other early childhood care education providers. Will increase training and qualification standards for staff in the field and build new education hubs in Kuala Lumpur and around the country.

SAVE (Oil, Gas & Energy): ‘Sustainability Achieved via Energy Efficiency’ initiative designed to promote energy efficiency and reduce demand by offering rebates on better appliances.

Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) (Oil, Gas & Energy): Still in the feasibility study stage, this Petronas-led project is for a 300,000 barrel per day refinery comprising Petronas’ largest green-field investment in the downstream sector in Malaysia.

Strategic Acquisition of Specialized Services (Oil, Gas & Energy): Will increase technology and knowledge transfers in risk and safety related services through an acquisition of Scientige Sdn Bhd by Bureau Veritas, a global leader in conformity assessment and certification services. Will also become BV’s technical center in Southeast Asia.

AMD Global Services Centre (Business Services): A new business process services centre in Cyberjaya also supporting chipmaker AMD’s finance, accounting and IT departments.

Integrated Shrimp Farming (Agriculture): an initiative led by JEFI AquaTech Resources Sdn Bhd to develop ‘agro-entrepreneurship’ in rural areas with three centers to develop Malaysia’s export and halal shrimp aquaculture industry.

Edible Bird Nest Processing (Agriculture): will increase mechanization and production capacity for Malaysia’s edible swiftlet nest industry, the world’s second-largest. Led by Yanming Resources Sdn Bhd.

Telepresence Exchange (Communications Content & Infrastructure): A collaboration between VADS Bhd and Cisco to provide advanced video conferencing and virtual meeting technology to Malaysia’s private and public sectors.

Extending Regional Network (Communications Content & Infrastructure): A 24-company consortium called Konsortium Rangkaian Serantau Sdn Bhd, designed to increase broadband  capacity and improve internet service quality.

Swiftlet Nest Tracking using RFID Technology (Communications Content & Infrastructure): Also aiding Malaysia’s swiftlet edible bird’s nest export industry, a collaboration between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Department of Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry will implement system for tracking the entire supply chain.

The Economic Transformation Programme, overseen by the government’s Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu) is a key component of Malaysia’s ambitions to become an officially ‘developed’ nation by 2020. Since its inception in September 2010, the ETP has been responsible for RM169.78 billion ($56 billion) in investment, a RM220.15 billion ($72.6 billion) increase in GNI and the creation of 362,396 new jobs. The programme identifies sectors where Malaysia is perceived to have strengths or advantages, called National Key Economic Areas (NKEA), and designs projects to maximize them.

To achieve developed status by 2020, Malaysia must achieve average 6% annual GDP growth. Growth for Q1 2011 is 4.6%, which PM Najib called “moderate”, though adding that consumption and investment have risen by 6.6% and 6.5% respectively in the same period. The GDP figure was mainly due to a problem with an offshore oil reservoir in Sabah, which saw Malaysia’s Q1 crude oil exports drop by 11.2%.

source & full details: PEMANDU