The blueprint encompasses the manufacturing, tourism and agricultural sectors to ensure sustained development for the Taiping area towards high-income and more accommodating development.
To rejuvenate the industrial and economic development of Taiping, the Perak state government has since 2013 drafted a Greater Kamunting Masterplan in collaboration with the Economic Planning Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department, the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), Public Works Department and the Land Authority. This development masterplan will be led by the NCIA and be implemented in the parliamentary constituencies of Taiping, Bukit Gantang and Larut. It will encompass the manufacturing, tourism and agricultural sectors to ensure sustained development for the Taiping area towards high-income and more accommodating development.
To be carried out from now through 2030, the Greater Kamunting masterplan is estimated to cost RM18 billion and create more than 90,000 job opportunities. It will help reshape Taiping into a world-class economic region while boosting the local tourism industry and attracting more tourists to Taiping to lift the local income levels.
Taiping was founded around 1840 following the discovery of tin there. The town used to be the capital of the state of Perak. Due to its thriving economy, Taiping witnessed some of the firsts in the country, including Maxwell Hill resort, Coronation swimming pool, resort homes, court, English school, government office buildings, post office, Taiping Lake Gardens, hospital, train station, museum, prison and zoo, among others.
Taiping covers an area of 186.46 square kilometers with a population of about 220,000.
Taiping lacks some benchmark businesses or large manufacturing plants. Among the public listed companies based here are Latexx Partners Berhad, Spritzer Berhad, KBES Berhad, Gunung Capital Berhad and Maxwell Glove Manufacturing Berhad.
Aiming millions of visitors
Silverstone tire factory and the recently commissioned Japanese Toyo Tires factory are among the major foreign-funded manufacturing factories in Taiping area. Toyo Tires has invested more than RM800 million to set up its manufacturing facility here, the largest in the northern Perak region.
There are three major industrial parks in Taiping, namely Kamunting Heavy Industrial Park, Tupai Light Industrial Park and Kamunting Raya Industrial Park.
Taiping and its surrounding areas are gifted with a large number of heritage sites and sightseeing attractions that have drawn millions of tourists here every year. The tourism industry has therefore become an indispensable part of the local economy. In addition, Kuala Sepetang nearby has also emerged as a new tourist destination in northern Perak, giving a definite boost to the tourism-related upstream and downstream industries.
Among the major tourist attractions in Taiping are the Taiping Lake Gardens, Maxwell Hill and Taiping Zoo. The other attractions include the Perak Museum, the Taiping War Cemetery and the emerging destination of Kuala Sepetang.
To promote the tourism industry in Taiping, the municipal council has spent almost RM3 million to promote the town’s “heritage trails” that link the 39 heritage sites in the town with detailed guides for tourists.
The Taiping municipal council’s initiative has won the support of a Japanese company which has sponsored two electric buses to ferry tourists to each of the town’s attractions, further boosting the local tourism industry.
Kuala Sepetang mangrove ecosystem
Kuala Sepetang is a tiny fishing village about 18km from the center of Taiping. This erstwhile unknown fishing village has been developed into an emerging tourist destination in northern Perak thanks to the joint efforts of Kuala Sepetang state assemblyman Chua Yee Ling and other local organizations.
The fishing village is home to Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve, one of the world’s best managed mangrove forests. Covering more than 40,000 hectares and 52km long, it is also the biggest mangrove wetland in Peninsular Malaysia.
You can find boardwalk inside the forest reserve to view the mangrove ecosytem. There are also resort homes for visitors to stay overnight inside the forest reserve.
Kuala Sepetang is also known for its charcoal kiln, which is a traditional industry in the fishing village for more than a hundred years. The recent years have seen the revitalization of this age-old industry.
This industry not only has brought lucrative incomes to the operators as demand for charcoal is increasingly strong, it has also lured throngs of domestic and foreign visitors to witness the unique charcoal firing process at the century-old kilns, making it yet another major attraction in the fishing village.
Due to the superior quality of charcoal produced in Kuala Sepetang, Japanese investors have set up factories around Matang to process charcoal for export to Japan.
During the firing process, the distilled water evaporated from the mangrove wood can be used to make cosmetics and soap for its deodorant and anti-itch functions.
Among the famous native products and delicacies in Taiping are heong piah, dumpling, poh piah, Teochew fish ball koay teow, Sepetang curry noodle and seafood porridge.