The Economic Affairs Ministry sees the ongoing Malacca Gateway development as beneficial to the country’s economy.
The RM43 billion megaproject, which consists of one island and three artificial islands, is currently being developed by private entity KAJ Development Sdn Bhd. Its main contractor is Beijing-based Powerchina International Group Limited.
“Such a development will contribute directly and indirectly to Malaysia from a macroeconomic standpoint in terms of population growth, job opportunities for skilled and partially skilled workers, GDP growth, GNI, technology transfer and other knock-on effects to the local economy.
“This (will be done) through the growth of industries and of the network of business opportunities,” the ministry said in a parliamentary written reply, adding that the project is being carried out in partnership with the state government.
The ministry was responding to a question from Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong on mega seaport projects involving foreign investors.
Slated for completion in 2025, Malacca Gateway spans almost 566ha and will house the Malacca International Cruise Terminal, a commercial city and a maritime industrial park.
Developer KAJ estimates that the project will generate some RM1.19 trillion for the local economy and up to 45,000 jobs over the next decade.
Last month, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak expressed surprise that Malacca Gateway was labelled as "foreign sell-out" project during his tenure, but is now seen as important to the state’s development.
Another megaproject, the Forest City development in Johor, recently came under fire from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who accused it of being a city "built for foreigners".
Economics Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali had also criticised the project as not being beneficial to Malaysia because free residential units were allegedly being offered in exchange for investments in China.
Built by China's Country Garden Holdings Company in a joint venture with businesses held by the Johor sultan, Forest City was envisioned as a sprawling 13.86sq-km smart city built on four artificial islands.
It was advertised as a futuristic green city, offering the best in healthcare and education, and with close proximity to Singapore.
The developer has projected a population of 700,000 by 2035, but the project has mostly been marketed to foreigners.