While tourism may be the major economic driver in Melaka, the city is fast attracting investments in the other sectors.
By Khalil Adis
If you are a first time visitor to Melaka, you’d be forgiven for thinking tourism is the main industry here.
On the surface though, it appears tourism is its major economic driver since this is a more visible industry judging by the many places of attractions and tourists who flock to the city.
However, Melaka also has burgeoning mining and manufacturing sectors that have contributed significantly to its economy.
“Other than tourism, Melaka is coming up in other ways. There is a body set up called Invest Melaka where they invite other bodies to come in to invest in Melaka,” said Cassandra Tio, head, marketing and sales property division of the Hatten Group.
Indeed, data from Invest Melaka showed that in 2012, Melaka’s economy grew by 5.7 per cent led by four major industries – mining, manufacturing, construction, agriculture and services.
Mining accounted for 46.9 per cent of the market share while manufacturing, construction, agriculture and services accounted for 43.5 per cent, 2.9 per cent, 6.5 per cent and 0.1 per cent of its economic growth respectively.
A state government body formed in 2003, Invest Melaka has over the years attracted key multinational companies such as Petronas and SunPower Infineon to set up their base here.
Fastest growing state
As if reliving its history during its golden era as the preferred port of call, Melaka looks set to rise once again.
Government data showed that Melaka is the fastest growing state in Malaysia in 2011 and 2012, beating Kuala Lumpur.
Key factors that have drawn Petronas and SunPower to invest here include Melaka’s strategic location between Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) as well as between three airports – KLIA, Melaka International Airport and Senai International Airport.
Petronas is Malaysia’s largest oil and gas company and wholly owned by the Malaysian government.
Its Melaka Refinery Complex houses two refining trains which have the capacity to process 100,000 barrels and 170,000 barrels per day of sweet and sour crudes.
SunPower, which opened its plant in 2010, has so far invested US$600 million for its first phase of its fabrication plant and created 1,100 jobs.
In 2011, it invested a further US$600 million for the second phase of its development.
Melaka is also fast becoming a centre for medical tourism, as Indonesians and Singaporeans flock to hospitals such as Mahkota Medical Centre for medical treatment.
According to data from International Medical Travel Journal, the city saw 168,000 Indonesians coming to Melaka due to the lower costs of medical treatment as opposed to Singapore.
In fact, Mahkota Medical Centre is one of the designated hospitals that Singaporeans can use their CPF Medisave, explaining Melaka’s rising attractiveness as a medical centre.
One Singaporean who recently sought medical treatment there is Bryan Teo.
“I decided to do my knee surgery here in Melaka as the cost of medical treatment here is affordable yet the quality of healthcare is comparable to Singapore. The favourable currency exchange rate also means significant cost savings,” said the marketing manager.
The sports enthusiast has been nursing a knee injury since early this year.
He decided to give Melaka a try after reading about the quality of treatment there.
“Being able to use my CPF Medisave at Mahkota is the key factor. I am sure our government will only recommend the best hospitals for medical treatment in Malaysia,” said Teo.
Spillover in the property market
With the new found vibrancy injected into Melaka, this has led to an economic spillover in its property market.
Being a major heritage site for tourism and new destination of choice among medical tourist, the Hatten Group is offering investors hotel suites which offer you returns on your investment,
At Harbour City, for instance, there are various hotel suites to choose from to fill demand from tourists and medical tourists.
Investors at Harbour City will be able to get their returns every three month based on the tenancy agreement with the hotel management arm.
“At Hatten Group, we have out hotel management arm where we undertake hotel suites from our buyers to run it as a hotel. We give the purchasers the option such that when they purchase the suites, they can empower us to manage it for them,” said Tio.