PELABURAN MARA Bhd has enlisted the service of UK's Atkins Global to develop its Asia Aerospace City (AAC) in Subang into a world-class facility to churn out industry-ready human capital.

Atkins Global - the official engineering design services provider to the London 2012 Olympic Games - will act as the lead consultant and master planner of the project which is estimated to have a gross development value of RM2 billion.

Pelaburan MARA, which is Majlis Amanah Rakyat's (MARA) investment and asset management company, will take a lead role as the master developer of the AAC.

The signing ceremony between the two parties was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here yesterday.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the project signifies MARA's commitment in fulfilling the aspirations of the government to develop the engineering services sector as one of the Entry Point Projects of the Economic Transformation Programme.

MARA conceptualised the AAC - an educational and business park - as a platform for seamless interaction between academic institutions and industry players as part of MARA's strategy to prepare an industry-ready human capital.

"The vision is much more than just an edu-biz development project. It is to create an iconic and state of-the-art world-class facility as home for global players in engineering services, particularly in the aerospace industry. It is a place where we fulfil industry demand for skilled human capital," he said at the signing of agreement between Pelaburan MARA and Atkins Global.

Pelaburan MARA was represented by its chief executive officer Nazim Rahman while Atkins Asia Pacific CEO Chris Birdsong signed on behalf of Atkins Global. Also present was Pelaburan MARA chairman Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan.

AAC will be a smart city with a range of integrated facilities like offices, cutting-edge R&D facilities, academic campuses, a convention centre and a residential component.

Pelaburan MARA aims to transform the AAC into a premier edu-biz park for aerospace industry-related engineering services.

Nazim told reporters that the project will take three years to complete.

"The design stage starts from now until July ... earthworks are scheduled to start in early 2015," he said.
Atkins Global is a design, engineering and project management consultant based in the United Kingdom.

Malaysia currently has about 200 aerospace-related organisations with an estimated combined earnings of over RM27.5 billion, with some 54,000 employees.

It has been reported that Airbus has launched its "Power 8" programme to strengthen its global network as it is anticipating 40 per cent of passenger aircraft sales to be concentrated in the Asian region by 2020.

Similarly, the European Aerospace Defence and Space Company (EADS) reportedly plans to invest US$250 million (RM825 million) in Malaysia within the same time frame.

These developments will open up opportunities for Malaysia to engage in and undertake aircraft design work, against the projected US$1 trillion global aerospace industry by 2020.

Earlier, the prime minister officiated at the Menara MARA in conjunction with MARA's 48th anniversary.

New Straits Times