ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
Although relatively prosperous as a town after its headstart as the center of a lucrative rubber producing region, Sitiawan’s recent economic development really took off after the establishment in 1984 of the Lumut naval base, Malaysia’s largest naval dock.
This resulted in an increase in commercial activities at Seri Manjung, the new district capital but with Sitiawan which is located alongside well-positioned to reap the spill-over effects. Today the town is no longer rubber-based – 80% of estate land around it is used for palm oil cultivation and housing development, contract supplies to the naval base, fishing, prawn farming and shipbuilding activities and they have spurred a diversified urban economy.
State-driven projects and the multiplier effects of tourism and transportation developments have also generated prosperity for the town’s original community of Foochow who have a reputation for hard work and thrift.
With progress has also come social challenges as the growth experienced in the town and district has not been sufficient to retain the younger generation.
Many leave after completing their secondary education, for Penang and Kuala Lumpur and overseas to pursue their tertiary education and career development. Nevertheless, Sitiawan city which consists of the original town, Seri Manjung, Lumut and Lumut Port is still the center of Manjung district, the most developed region in Perak, next to Ipoh..