Since its establishment in 1993, the IMT-GT cooperation framework has recognized
the vital role of the private sector in accelerating the development
of the subregion. In fact, the institutional
structure of the IMT-GT reflects a dual and largely parallel
cooperation mechanism in the public and private sectors. The
Joint Business Council (JBC) at both the national and IMT-GT
levels serves as the private sector counterpart of the governmental
IMT-GT institutions. Its main tasks are to foster closer relations
and cooperation among various business interests in the IMT-GT
and to be an advocate for improvement in the enabling environment
for private sector participation in IMT-GT development.
The private sector is playing a major role in driving many of the IMT-GT initiatives. Between 1995-2005, the JBC facilitated the investment of an estimated US$3.80 billion worth of new projects in the subregion. It has established wholesale markets along the borders called IMT-GT plazas, one-stop investment centers, and border townships. A Business Opportunities Directory has been launched. The JBC has facilitated trade delegations and trade fairs, investments in local businesses, and the standardization of port operations and other logistics services.
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- + Major achievements of the IMT-GT cooperation
- With the abolition of the 'Exit Tax' by Indonesia, intra-regional mobility of people, especially traders, tourists, and students expanded tremendously, and larger number of Indonesians obtain employment in Malaysian industries;
- With special human resource programmes such as training of Indonesians in hospitality services and nursing conducted in Malaysia, many Indonesians can earn degree and diploma programmes in Malaysian universities and colleges;
- Significant increase in the number of hotels in Medan, Hat Yai and Sadao, thus making these cities major destination for intra-regional travellers and tourists;
- Increase in sub-regional air carriers serving Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Langkawi, Ipoh, Pekanbaru, Batam, Medan, Aceh, and Songhkla. Under JBC facilitation, Firefly has started its operation to Sumatera on 26 October 2008. Routes identified are Penang-Banda Aceh, Penang-Medan and Subang-Pekanbaru;
- With the extended opening hours at Malaysian border towns of Bukit Kayu Hitam and Padang Besar from 6 pm to 12 am cross-border trade expanded, tourists bound for Thailand increased, and Thai exporters are able to send exports by means of overland trucks to ports of Penang, Port Klang and even direct to Singapore;
- Part of the Trans-Malaysia-Thai Land bridge was constructed with cooperation between Petronas and Petrolium Authority of Thailand building a gas pipeline from Kedah (Langkawi) to Soghkla;
- The underwater fibre optic cable links between Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra was constructed with close collaboration between IndoSat (Indonesia) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd;
- Inter-country power sharing agreement between Malaysia and Thailand was signed to supplement the power needs of provinces of South Thailand;
- The Ro-Ro ferry services between Belawan (Sumatra) and Penang (Malaysia) has begun, and another from Dumai (Indonesia) to Melaka (Malaysia) is being formalised to operate;
- The IMT-GT Plazas, which display local indigenous products has been established with the first one in Trang, Thailand and several other location around IMT-GT such as Bukit Kayu Hitam, Port Dickson, Port Klang, Penang and Selangor in Malaysia, Dumai, Pekanbaru, Batam and Medan in Indonesia, Hat Yai and Krabi in Thailand;
- 15 SMI's producer of traditional food and beverages products from Malaysia have been identified by JBC and on trial sale at 2 supermarket chains in Medan namely Maximart and Machan Yaohan.
The JBC has its corresponding working groups (WGs) to cater to specific areas of sectoral development.
- + The proposed projects for 2009
Joint Business Council Meetings
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- + 27th JBC Meeting (27-27 May 2009, Phuket, Thailand)
- + 26th JBC Meeting (4-5 December 2008, Penang, Malaysia)
- + 22nd JBC Meeting (13-15 February 2007, Trang, Thailand)
- + 14th JBC Meeting (17 July 2004, Selangor, Malaysia)