SHAH ALAM, Feb 18 — A shopping mall in the making, Central i-City within the city of lights i-City here is expected to spur the country’s economic growth and create ample job opportunities.
Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said a joint-venture joint between i-Bhd and Thai retail developer Central Pattana Public Company Ltd (CPN), the project would also attract foreign investors into the country.
“CPN is a huge company and has 29 shopping malls in Thailand. Besides creating jobs, we hope it will also draw more tourists from Thailand and other countries to Malaysia.
“When we have a big project, the infrastructure needs to be expanded and this will attract investors and tourists to the facilities,” he told reporters after officiating the groundbreaking ceremony of the RM850 million Central i-City project here Thursday.
I-Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong and CPN chief business development and construction project officer Khun Wallaya Chirathivat were present.
Spanning over three million square feet, the Central i-City shopping mall is expected to be ready in 2018 and it will be one of the landmarks of i-City in Section 7 here.
Ong said the construction of the shopping mall was an important collaboration between Malaysia and Thailand in boosting trade volume under the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) among ASEAN countries.
He said the RM1.46 trillion total trade through FTAs among ASEAN countries last year could be further enhanced with a target of reaching, at least, RM1.6 trillion this year.
He said the FTAs entered into with other countries such as Turkey, Pakistan and South Korea would further extend Malaysia’s trade ties with trading partners.
“We can achieve the goal of concluding at least 70% of the FTAs this year if we were to get the cooperation of all parties.
“The government will continue to support projects that could help spur the economy by bringing in more foreign investors,” he said.