Earlier this evening, I thanked and congratulated Naza TTDI Sdn. Bhd as well as all those involved when I witnessed the handing over of the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre, or MITEC, to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
MITEC is another example of an important project that has been developed within budget and on schedule. This is representative of the culture of efficiency, responsibility and accountability that the National Transformation Programme has been embedding.
It is important that MITEC sets such an example, as it is the first building within a new high-impact RM20 billion mixed development – KL Metropolis, in Persiaran Dutamas. This new “city within a city”, spread over 30 hectares, will feature office towers, banking facilities, luxury condominiums, wellness suites, lifestyle malls, retail outlets, serviced residences, and hotels ranging from four to six star classifications.
Above all, however, all the facilities are planned to make KL Metropolis the destination for the meetings, incentives, conventions, events and exhibitions industry – known as MICE – in the region and beyond.
MITEC is at the very heart of that vision. Incorporating unique and intricate songket design in its façade, which enhances its uniquely Malaysian identity, it has a built-up area of 1.5 million square feet and a gross exhibition floor area of 488,000 square feet.
That makes it the largest exhibition space in the country today. It can accommodate close to 47,700 visitors in theatre style seating and 28,300 guests in the banquet arrangement at any one time.
It features 11 exhibition halls across three-double volume floors, a multi-purpose hall, meeting and conference rooms, media and press facilities, lounges, restaurants and food outlets. The halls at Level 1 are designed for heavy loading exhibitions, the first of its kind in Malaysia.
I have no doubt at all that, with its state of the art facilities, MITEC will put Malaysia on the map as far as the MICE industry is concerned, bringing new business and leisure travellers to the country, providing a new beacon of excellence, and creating jobs and raising skill levels and wages that will benefit the Malaysian people.
As it is, according to the International Congress and Convention Association, Kuala Lumpur is ranked eighth in the Asia Pacific and 28th globally as a convention centre city; while among countries, Malaysia was ranked seventh in the region and 30th in the world.
Last year, the Malaysian MICE industry attracted 111,298 delegates to 153 events and generated RM1.035 billion in revenue. By 2020, business tourism is forecast to contribute RM3.9 billion to Gross National Income and generate 16,700 jobs. With MITEC, however, I am certain that these rankings and these figures are set to improve still further – and play its part in reaching our goal of making Kuala Lumpur one of the Top Five most visited cities by 2020.
We will see this splendid centre showcased very soon, as MITEC will be operational in time for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games and the 2017 Para Asean Games.
Nine events at the Southeast Asian Games, including rhythmic gymnastics, weightlifting, fencing and indoor hockey, will be held in MITEC. We will soon watch Malaysian Gold medal hopefuls such as Mohd Hafifi Mansor at weightlifting, Ng Sock Khim at table tennis, the Men’s and Women’s hockey teams and Farah Ann Abdul Hadi and Tan Ing Yueh at gymnastics, as they vie for victory in MITEC’s halls.
And following the magnificent performance of our Malaysian Paralympians in last year’s Rio Olympics, we will certainly be cheering them on to add to their tally at that Para Asean Games in September.
With the handing over of the building to MITI today, the Government will promote it as a venue of choice and encourage major national and international events and conferences to be held at MITEC.
This is in line with the Government’s business-friendly policies that have seen us recently called the “Best Country to Invest in” in a report co-authored by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
We are pleased to encourage, and to invest ourselves as a Government, in world-class infrastructure, like the new MRT line. We are working on the second, which will benefit two million people from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya. These developments, along with our policies for all the people of Malaysia, at every level, have real and tangible benefits for Malaysians.
2.26 million new jobs since 2009. Gross National Income up by nearly 50 percent. A deficit steadily being reduced, while unemployment and inflation have been kept low. This year both the IMF and the World Bank have increased their predictions for Malaysia’s GDP growth. We are on track for close to five percent – which is a figure the advanced economies can only dream of.
MITEC is another example of how the Government’s plans have delivered and are continuing to deliver for Malaysians. It is just ridiculous to claim that our economy is failing, as some in the opposition do.
The World Bank recently reported that Malaysia’s economy is progressing from a position of strength. And that strength has been built, and will continue to be guaranteed, by the efforts of this Government and of the Malaysian people.
I know this iconic centre will play its part in the prosperous, sustainable and inclusive Malaysia that we all want- and I look forward to seeing the Southeast Asian Games athletes putting this wonderful new facility through its paves very soon.