There’s a new project in Pengkalan Hulu, Ipoh. It’s called The Gateways. Name sounds good, just like The Gateway @ KLIA2. The total cost is RM50 million and its first phase comprises a duty-free zone, a retail & wholesale fashion mall, a food court and entertainment centre, all on a 5.2ha land. This is 560,000 sf. It’s going to be called Carnivals and the first phase is expected to create 1,000 new jobs as well as business opportunities in the retail and F&B industry. In fact, Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) is working closely with the developer for this because currently, there are no such projects in Pengkalan Hulu.
Phase 2 would include commercial buildings like offices, a hotel, a square and a convention centre. Actually, to be honest, without a new airport, convention centre does not work, especially if it is targeted at bigger events instead of the usual 30 tables wedding dinner. For those, just say it is a hall and not a convention centre. For a convention centre, there should be an integrated approach, the state must be ready to support it fully. For example, listing the convention centre as one of the facilities for all the investors to know etc.
I have been to the site 2 times, both times to go to Station 18 Jusco. I think Ipoh can certainly have more of such developments but if possible, do it on an even bigger scale and not just another quite successful project. Do one which is significant to Ipoh as a city. How about having one international event every month in the new convention centre and Perak state government should facilitate this. Yes, no airports but why not tell them to experience the train? Arriving at a majestic train station in Malaysia? What about including this convention centre in all the visits to other countries?
The one unfortunate thing that I feel is still happening in Ipoh is that everyone has their own ideas about how to make Ipoh a better place but none of them are really leveraging off each other and making the whole thing bigger. Perhaps this may be the start of a closer cooperation between the state and the private sector? Hope so, for Ipoh’s sake.
written on 25 May 2014
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