Johor still top manufacturing destination

Enhanced rubber product: Khaled (second from left) being briefed on polybutadiene rubber by UBE Industries Ltd chairman Michiko Takeshita (left) after the plant’s opening. With them are (from left) LOTTE Group chairman Shin Dong Bin and Johor State Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong. — Bernama

PASIR GUDANG: Johor remains the country’s top investment destination for the manufacturing sector and continues to attract strong interest from domestic and foreign investors.

Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in the first six months of the year, the state attracted RM27bil investments compared with RM15.7bil over the corresponding period a year earlier.

He said Johor drew the highest total approved investments in the manufacturing activities nationwide at RM21.1bil in 2014, overtaking Penang and Sarawak.

Khaled said the figure was a gigantic improvement from RM14.4bil received by the state in 2013.

Of the total RM27bil, RM25bil investments were from the domestic investors while the balance RM2bil were from foreign companies, he said.

“This indicates that Johor is no longer the sleeping giant it used to be. The state will soon be the leading investment hub in the region,” Khaled said this after opening the US$130mil Lotte Ube Synthetic Rubber Sdn Bhd plant in the Tanjung Langsat industrial park here yesterday.

The plant, the country’s first polybutadiene rubber (BR) facility, is a joint venture between Lotte Chemical Corp (40% stake), Ube Industries Ltd (40%), Lotte Chemical Titan (M) Sdn Bhd (10%) and Mitsubishi Corp (10%). It is capable of producing 50,000 tonnes of BR yearly.

Khaled said Johor would continue to adopt proactive measures to attract investors and transform the state as the leading investment hub in the region.

“We have established the Johor State Investment Centre (JSIC) to improve the overall business and this will further enhance the mutual beneficial relationship shared by the state and the businesses, “ he said.

Khaled JSIC would work closely with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and the Malaysia Investment Development Authority (Mida) to incubate a cohesive business-friendly climate in Johor.

He said Johor needed more dedicated industrial parks to cater for capital-intensive and high-technology investors worldwide.

Meanwhile, Mida chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said Johor boasted the right ecosystem to become one of the leading regional manufacturing hubs.

He said the state’s close proximity to Singapore was an added advantage to attract manufacturers from all over the world to set up operations in Iskandar Malaysia.

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