Located north of the Klang Valley and Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, Perak is the second largest state of Peninsular Malaysia, covering an area of 21,022km2. Perak is bordered by five states <– Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Pahang – along with the border of southern Thailand, affording locals accessibility to the nearby regions.
Perak is home to some 2.44 million people – a diverse mixture of locals and foreigners alike.
In the local language, Perak means ‘silver’ – the colour of tin. This is a legacy of the 1890s to 1970s, when Perak was one of the largest tin producers in the world. It was tin mining and its related industries of foundry, machinery and metalworking that laid the foundation of Perak’s industrial profile of today. However, the decline of the global tin industry in the mid 1980s was a blow to Perak’s economy, as Perak was heavily reliant on the tin industry as its major revenue and engine of growth. Thousands of people in the industry lost their jobs, former mining ponds were abandoned and piles of sand dunes from mining activity could still be seen in many places during this period.
To turn around the gloomy economic situation, the Perak State Government began to explore a diversified economic base, identifying the manufacturing industry as a new engine of economic growth along with services and agriculture. In line with this new direction, new infrastructure necessary for industrial development was built across the state to encourage the development of the manufacturing sector and attract inbound investments. This was also to support Malaysia’s vision of becoming a developed nation by the year 2020.
The Perak State Government, through the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNPk), began actively developing industrial estates in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, initially focusing on areas such as Kinta, Taiping and Manjung, before shifting to other areas such as Parit Buntar and Kuala Kangsar. The Perak State Government then entrusted PKNPk to develop logistics infrastructure – namely, the Lumut Port and the Ipoh Cargo Terminal (ICT), to improve the transportation and distribution of the manufactured goods to their markets.
PKNPk also ventured into the manufacturing sector in the ‘90s. The organisation was actively involved in the cement industry through what was then known as the Perak Hanjoong Cement, and the semiconductor industry, through what was then known as the Carter Semiconductor. In the ceramics industry, collaborations on technical training and technology transfer PKNPk established with experts from Japan to enhance and develop the skill of local ceramics entrepreneurs.
As a result of this comprehensive planning, commitment and dedication by the state government, the manufacturing sector has flourished in Perak over the past three decades. Today, Perak boasts a more diversified industrial portfolio, which includes manufacturing of electrical and electronics products, non-metallic mineral products, shipbuilding, machinery and foundry, automotive and transport equipment as well as oil and gas fabrication industries. Some giant multinational companies (MNCs) have established operations or subsidiaries in Perak.