Visionary plan to transform state
Private-sector driven and touted to be the first of its kind in the country, the multi-billion ringgit Malaysian Vision Valley project is set to catapult Negri Sembilan into one of Malaysia’s major investment destinations and fastest growing states.
To be developed over a sprawling 108,000ha area covering the Seremban-Nilai-Port Dickson growth triangle, the MVV, which is bigger in size than Penang and one-and-a-half times that of Singapore, has been meticulously planned over several years and is poised to become one of the country’s new growth centre.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who has been involved in the design of the MVV when it was first on the planning board sometime in 2007, said the project was set to change the landscape of the state in every aspect.
“I am very excited about the 30-year MVV development as it will transform Negri Sembilan into one of the country’s major economies.
“The MVV will rival Kuala Lumpur and become a more attractive place to live and work in,” he said, adding that the MVV would be officially launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the first quarter of this year.
Mohamad explained that the idea for the MVV had evolved from a proposal to construct the country’s first low-cost carrier terminal in Labu.
“Before the LCCT was built in Sepang, we had proposed to the Government to build the terminal on land belonging to conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd in Labu, which was in the MVV area.
“However, that did not happen due to a combination of factors,” he said, adding that he then went back to the drawing board with several parties to fine-tune the plan.
Mohamad, who spent many successful years in the banking, automobile, hotel and retail businesses both here and abroad, then realised that despite being a small state, Negri Sembilan has large swathes of land and excellent infrastructure. It therefore has the potential to be the next fastest growth centre because the Klang Valley is increasingly congested.
“We then started working on another plan and proposed it to the Federal Government, which gave us the go-ahead,” he said, adding that the integrated economic development would have an estimated gross development value of RM640bil.
After many meetings, the Prime Minister endorsed the MVV and even pledged that the Federal Government would allocate RM5bil under the 11th Malaysia Plan for infrastructure projects within the valley.
Mohamad has every reason to be excited for the MVV, which will be divided into five clusters.
The state’s only high-speed rail (HSR) stop will be located here, as will new industrial and business; research and educational; and sports and recreational areas.
Without revealing too much, Mohamad said the Seremban cluster would be turned into the central business district. The RantauJimah area had been earmarked for new residential areas, where more affordable homes would be built, while the Nilai-Enstek- Sendayan triangle would be an education-cum-sports cluster.
“Under the first phase, there will be a 2,500ha area where we will house hi-tech and research-based industries,” he said.
The MVV will also be a magnet for high-tech multinational companies planning to set up their operations as well as research and development and campus facilities in the same place.
It will also house private universities and research labs as more people move into the area.
Mohamad said it would make good economic sense for industries to move to the MVV.
It will also be a better alternative for those who work in the city but prefer to live in the suburbs.
“When I was working in London, many of my colleagues used to travel to work from places like Brighton and Bedford, located some 75km away.
“With properties becoming increasingly scarce and expensive in the city, people would rather chose to live at the peripheries where they have an option to buy landed dwellings at cheaper prices,” he said.
Plans are already underway to cope with the expected population growth.
Among the projects planned within the MVV under the 11th Malaysia Plan are the construction of the Seremban-KLIA-PD highway, upgrading of federal roads in LabuNilai-Bandar Enstek, and an alternative road from the Seremban new toll plaza to the Seremban Middle Ring Road.
“The MVV will be a massive development project that will have its own commuter and tram services to cater to the increase in population.
“We need to have a better public transport system for better connectivity so that people can hop on to the HSR,” he said.
The HSR service, which will cut travelling time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes, will also bring in more business opportunities to the state and enhance investment, trade and tourism.
He said an integrated public transportation system was vital as the population in the MVV was expected to increase from 700,000 to 3 million in the next 30 years.
Mohamad said his administration also wanted the Express Rail Link (ERL) service between KL Sentral and the KLIA extended to the soon-to-be-built HSR terminal in Labu.
The federal authorities should also consider extending the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line from Kajang to Labu.
“If the ERL and MRT lines are extended to the HSR station near here, it will be easier for people to get to many places, including KLIA and KLIA2 and vice versa.
“We hope these requests will be considered as we plan towards improving the public transportation network,” he said.
He said if this was done, the HSR terminal would be turned into an integrated transportation hub, allowing more people to use public transport.
“On our part, we will arrange for shuttle and taxi services at the HSR to link the terminal with nearby areas,” he said.
Mohamad said plans to rehabilitate the 39km Seremban-Port Dickson highway under a public-private partnership initiative would be a catalyst to development in the MVV.
“We are so happy that the rail line will be rehabilitated because it will support the movement of people and goods to and from Port Dickson.
“The line will also further boost trade and tourism, which translates into more revenue for the state,” he said.
The federal authorities have agreed to rebuild the rail route, which had been closed since 2008 following the derailment of a freight train transporting diesel from a refinery in Port Dickson to Ipoh.
Mohamad said more people would also move to the MVV once the Komuter train frequency within Greater Kuala Lumpur and Seremban was reduced in three years to 7.5 minutes from the present 15 minutes.
Mohamad said the state govern- ment was also proposing the construction of a dedicated rail line to carry goods from Nilai to Port Klang.
The line, he said, would pass through the KLIA.
“Since Nilai is going to be one of the biggest industrial areas planned under the Malaysian Vision Valley project, it will only make sense if the goods from here are transported by rail.
“It will be both cheaper and safer if the cargo is taken there by rail,” he said
To lend credence to the fact that the MVV is a truly well-drafted plan, the valley will also house a 400ha Central Park to be located a short distance away from Seremban.
“Our Central Park will be similar to the famous public recreational parks of London, New York and Paris.
“We are not only focusing on physical development. There will also be a special place where the people can relax and exercise,” he said.
Mohamad said affordable housing and 1Malaysia People’s Housing projects would be incorporated into the MVV.
“With more people moving into the area, we had to make provisions to build more houses, including affordable ones.
“We have already planned ahead where the residential areas will be located and that these are easily accessible,” he said.
Other projects that have been earmarked for initial launch in the MVV plan include the construction of Seremban Central, Seremban Resort City, the next phase of the Port Dickson Waterfront and the Port Dickson Splash Park.
Mohamad (right) looking at the state’s 30-year draft structure plan, which was meticulously prepared to ensure balanced development in all districts in the state.