Iskandar to attract RM73bil


  • Business
  • Monday, 02 May 2011

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia aims to attract RM73bil new investments to the country's first economic growth corridor starting from January 2011 until December 2015.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim said although it was getting more challenging to attract new investments, the figure was achievable.

He said that by December last year, Iskandar Malaysia had attracted RM69.48bil, surpassing the RM47bil target for 2010 from its inception on Nov 4, 2006.

Ismail added that RM3.76bil new investment was recorded in the first quarter of the year, bringing the total committed investments to RM73.24bil since 2006.

Of the total RM73.24bil, RM43.29mil or 59% are from local investors and RM29.95% or 41% are from foreign investors, of which 41% of the total committed investments have been spent to date.

The manufacturing sector contributed RM28.25bil, with RM24.26bil from properties, RM6.28bil from the Government, RM2.90bil from utilities, RM1.47bil from tourism, while RM10.08bil from others.

“The targets will be reviewed regularly in view of the ever-changing global economic and investment climate. There are no hard and fast rules for us,'' he said at a media briefing for journalists from Kuala Lumpur on the progress of Iskandar Malaysia on Saturday.

He said Iskandar Malaysia would be focusing on potential investors from Asean, China, India, Japan and South Korea apart from Europe and the Middle East which were the main targets during its early inception.

Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia would be entering its fifth year in November, and the latest investment figure reflected the serious commitments and efforts undertaken by all stakeholders.

Ismail stressed that Iskandar Malaysia would focus on acquiring quality investments and not numbers in line with the aspiration for high-income economy.

He said the investments should further enhance and complement the five existing economic clusters under its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) to transform Iskandar Malaysia into an international metropolis by 2025.

The five are electrical and electronics, petrochemical and olechemcial, food and agro-processing, logistics and related services, tourism, health services, educational services, financial services and ICT and creative industries.

“For instance, are we going to continue manufacturing parts and components only or are we migrating into research and development activities,'' said Ismail.

He said the obvious choice would be to move up the value-chain as the country's manufacturing sector could no longer remain labour-intensive.

Ismail said the manufacturing sector in Iskandar Malaysia was moving into the R&D and high-technology activities with the setting up of the BioXCell biotechnology park in Nusajaya and Senai Hi-Tech Park.

He said the two projects had received several capital-intensive investments from foreign investors involved in the biotechnology R&D and renewable energy sectors from India, China, France and South Korea.

Ismail said with the improvement of bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore, many Singapore-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have expressed interest to relocate to Iskandar Malaysia.

He said three areas in Senai, Pasir Gudang and Gelang had been identified for the setting up of the dedicated industrial parks for the local and foreign SMEs.

“We have received queries from companies operating in the Ring of Fire zone which plan to relocate their operations to Iskandar Malaysia in view of frequent earthquakes in their region,'' said Ismail.

He said Irda and other stakeholders would continue to work hard in promoting Iskandar Malaysia to the world and to correct the misperception that Iskandar Malaysia was only about Nusajaya.

Ismail said the 9.712.45ha Nusajaya was one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia the other zones were the Johor Baru City Centre, Western Gate Development Zone, Eastern Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.

“Located in the southernmost part of Johor, spanning over 2,217 sq km and three times bigger than Singapore, Iskandar Malaysia offers good prospects and investment opportunities for all,'' said Ismail.

Irda and the Government-backed investment holding company Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) are the two bodies tasked to promote and develop Iskandar Malaysia.

Irda is the regulatory body mandated to plan, promote and facilitate the development of Iskandar Malaysia and IIB to drive commercial initiatives within Iskandar Malaysia via joint ventures or contribution of land.

Related Stories: Govt yet to finalise ICCT project for Iskandar

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