A historically rich state claiming back its economy
Perak has been a state in slumber compared to her sandwiching neighbours, Penang and Selangor. Perak was the tin supplier to the world for hundreds of years before and during the industrial revolution in the Old Blighty and Europe. Tin mining was THE industry back in the day, and it roughly peaked during the British Malaya days at the turn of the 19th century. The environmental effect can still be seen today by the numerous ex-mining pools that dot the landscape, particularly around the state capital, Ipoh. The mining industry succumbed to its natural death in the 1980s with the collapse of the tin price. Hitting the point of no return, agriculture and ecotourism have since taken over the mining pools as natural successors.
Since then, too, major infrastructures such as the highways, ports and power plants have taken centre stage, forging a new economic landscape, although it is somewhat disjointed due to the geography and the large size of the State. Famous thoroughfares are the North-South and the West Coast Highways, the KTM’s Double Tracked Railways connecting major cities of Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown, and its ports in Lumut. The ports here are arguably the best in the country in terms of the natural draft depth – between 15 and 18 meters and the State shares its shores with one of the busiest seas in the world, the Straits of Melaka. At this juncture, one wonders why it has been what it is for generations. The answer may lie in the population.
The State has a workforce of around one million on the back of a 2.5 million population, and inter-state migration (although relatively slow) is rising due to the location and lower cost of living. Ipoh has been the favourite retirement city for many locals and foreigners for its quaint, laidback and affordable. Nevertheless, it may not stay that way forever. The property transactions showed a tremendous increase in volume and value last year despite the historical statistics. The followings are some facts and figures which are self-explanatory:
Source: IVI Research – NCER Malaysia (Perak)