JAKARTA: Iskandar Malaysia has become the preferred location in Asia for investors due to its ready physical infrastructure, said Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.
Ismail said the physical infrastructure included good connectivity via road, sea and air links as well as the soft infrastructure such as excellent education and healthcare facilities and a myriad of leisure, tourism and lifestyle offerings.
He said its strategic location in the heart of Asia provided an easy access to the Asean and surrounding markets.
“Iskandar Malaysia has a vast array of higher institutions of learning for all levels and areas of studies, state-of-the-art medical and wellness centres, as well as diverse tourist destinations.
“All these make Iskandar Malaysia ideal for investors to work, live and play in this region,” he said at a panel session on the television programme, CNBC’s Managing Asia: Asia Builders Event here.
He was one of the panellists for the session ‘Innovative Cities: Rising to the Challenge’ here on Thursday.
Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia was confident of realising its objectives as it moved closer towards its vision of becoming a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing.
These objectives were outlined in the Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP 2006-2025) launched in 2006 and carried forward in the enhanced CDP that received approval in November last year, he said.
He said the balanced growth and development were important for Iskandar Malaysia as it would ensure that the economic and social benefits were equally distributed to the whole region.
“Last year, Iskandar Malaysia achieved the recognition of being invited as one of the partnering cities or regions for the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform (GEEAP), a flagship programme under the Sustainable Energy for All initiative that is led by the United Nations secretary-general and the president of the World Bank.
“Iskandar Malaysia was selected through its Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia which includes the entire key actions that are supported by the GEEAP,” he said.
Iskandar Malaysia has secured RM7.98bil in new investments from January to March 2015 and recorded RM166.10bil in total cumulative committed investments from 2006 to March 2015.
Of this total, 47%, or RM78.53bil, represent investments that have been realised and to date, local investors had contributed RM102.34bil, or 62%, to the total cumulative committed investments while the balance of RM63.76bil, or 38%, were contributed by foreign investors.
Among the promoted sectors, manufacturing recorded the highest cumulative committed investment at RM50.82bil. This includes investment from the sectors of electrical and electronics, petrochemical and oleo-chemical and food- and agro-processing.
Other sectors that support the growth of Iskandar Malaysia include property development, in which the residential, retail and industrial segments collectively contribute cumulative investments of RM78.44bil as at March 31, 2015, followed by utilities (RM12.64bil), government investment, mainly in infrastructure and public works (RM8.31bil) and emerging technologies (RM2.12bil). - Bernama