Pivotal role for Johor in triangle

  • Business
  • Saturday, 24 Feb 2007

JOHOR BARU: Coming up with a plan is one thing but implementing the vision set out in the plan is the key to the success of the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). 

Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng, one of the five corporate figures on the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) advisory council, said the tough part would be working with local and global partners in the implementation. 

“I think Khazanah and the other teams in the Government should be congratulated for putting it together,” said Sheng, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. 

He said it was vital for the country to push ahead with its growth plans and this would benefit the growth triangle of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. 

“Johor will be a key point in this triangle,” he said, adding that implementation of the plans and visions also included reducing the barriers to doing business and cutting red tape. 

Andrew Cheng

“IDR is not just a Johor strategy but a national and regional strategy now,” Sheng said, adding that there were already plans to improve these areas as there was good determination to ensure these measures were taken. 

Asked about red tape in doing business, he said Malaysia had improved a lot but there was still a lot of room for improvement. 

“Friction costs need to come down. There are a lot of competitors with Malaysia and they are bringing these costs down very fast. 

“It is about the speed of approvals, the ease to getting access to markets. 

“It is about the ease of getting people and talent in. That will need very close cooperation with many countries,” he said during an interview here yesterday. 

Relating his experience in Hong Kong, he said everything there was about speed. 

“The place is not cheap, but the fact that business can turn over fast and you can have crucial decisions made quickly means the marginal cost of doing business is brought down even if the average cost of business is high,” Sheng added. 

Citing Hong Kong as an example, he said its services comprised 84% to 85% of gross domestic product (GDP) while in Malaysia it was about 57%. 

“There is a lot of potential to grow for Malaysia,” he added. 

On the role of Middle Eastern investors, Sheng said there was a lot of potential as oil producing countries had a current account surplus of US$300bil to US$350bil.  

Related Stories:Interview with Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng. 

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