Morotai, North Maluku. North Maluku Governor Thaib Armaiyn said Morotai Island will be developed into a new Indonesian growth center, with a special economic zone to be created in the district after the Sail Morotai 2012 festivities conclude.
“After the event ends, the district will be developed into an economic growth center in North Maluku,” Thaib said after attending Sail Morotai events in Juanga, Morotai, on Friday.
Thaib explained that supporting facilities and infrastructure would be built in Morotai, including a container port that would be the largest of its kind in eastern Indonesia, as well as facilities for tourism, agriculture, farming and fisheries.
He added that his administration submitted proposals for the development projects to the central government.
Meanwhile, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif C. Sutardjo said in a press statement on Friday that Morotai was expected to become a model for maritime-based economic development for other coastal regions in Indonesia.
“The acceleration of the development of coastal regions and islands is expected to boost Indonesia’s economic growth,” Sharif said.
He added that he was optimistic investors would be interested in having a stake in Morotai’s development, citing its strategic location near the center of the Asia-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, at least 22 yachts from a number of countries have reportedly arrived in Morotai to join the Yacht Rally 2012, which is part of the Sail Morotai 2012 festival.
Up to 5,000 guests, including World War II veterans from the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are expected to join the festivities, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono scheduled to officiate it on Saturday.
Morotai, which was known as Memory Island during World War II, was occupied by Japanese soldiers in 1942 under the command of General Kawashima.
It boasts white sandy beaches and pristine turquoise waters typical of many eastern Indonesian islands.