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Thursday April 5, 2007

Free Access Zone under IDR scrapped


JOHOR BARU: The proposed Free Access Zone (FAZ) under the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) has been scrapped. 

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that the issue of the FAZ did not arise at all as there was no reason for it.  

"Earlier, there was a suggestion to have a FAZ where foreigners would be able to enter the area without Immigration clearance, but that plan has been scrapped. 

"But we hope (entering Johor) will be made more easy, maybe through smart cards," he said.  

Abdul Ghani refuted suggestions that the decision was made because of strong opposition to the idea from several parties or in response to the fear over the possible loss of state sovereignty.  

"Not bantahan, not fear, nothing. We just see no reason for that particular area," he said. 

He was speaking to reporters at a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the start of the two-day Iskandar Development Region: Planning and Investment Opportunities seminar at Persada Johor. 

Abdul Ghani also said that Johoreans did not need to be concerned about the waiver of the 30 percent Bumiputera equity participation as it only concerned some 1,780ha of land in two areas - Nusajaya (Nord 1) and the area near the Danga development (Nord 2). 

"Investment situated only in these two areas are eligible for the Incentive Support Package (ISP) and one of the conditions for investment here is that the investors must have business dealings with other countries, not within Malaysia," he said. 

He also said that a meeting had been scheduled to address some 1,000 people including Bumiputera businessmen and Umno division chiefs on April 14 to further explain the IDR.  

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