Although northern Perak lacks major infrastructural amenities such as an airport or a seaport, it has made up its deficiency with its large expanse of affordable land and operating costs as well as a conducive living environment. These are the major conditions that have lured businesses and investors here.
North Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ang Poh Tit says this region is still relatively weak in terms of development with large investors opting to go to Klang Valley and Johor instead. The Northern Corridor Economic Region encompasses four states, but northern Perak seems to have benefited quite little from it.
Ang points out that northern Perak is known for its relatively cheap land cost, and to harness this advantage to further promote economic development of this region, the state government must strive to encourage more SMEs to invest here, or establish some institutions of higher leaning. But, the most important thing now is to first put all the basic infrastructure in place.
He says northern Perak lacks large scale industrial projects, while SMEs are mostly family-run businesses. The North Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce is in the midst of assisting local industrial operators to establish links with other countries in a bid to market their products overseas.
Northern Perak, in particular Taiping, boasts a large number of natural scenic attractions, and the tourism industry should be actively promoted. Once the various tourist attractions in this region have become widely known, tourists will begin to flock in, further stimulating the tourism-related upstream and downstream activities, hence the overall economy of the region.
Ang points out that northern Perak has enormous potentials to develop its tourism industry, and consequently the state government must work hand in hand with the private sector to step up the amenities at various tourist destinations to boost this industry.
On the new Firefly and Malindo Air operations at Ipoh airport, Ang says the flights will have positive effects in encouraging business investments as they effectively shorten traveling times. He hopes the airline companies will continue to bring more businessmen from neighboring Singapore and Indonesia to the state.
He says some 90% of industrial manufacturers in the country are SMEs, and 90% of these SMEs are actually run by the Chinese. As such, he urges the Chinese community to stay united and actively take part in the North Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce to form a powerful force that will catalyze the industrial development in northern Perak.