Iskandar Malaysia is open to all investors, big and small


  • Business
  • Saturday, 17 Nov 2012

Hive of activity: The newly-opened Mall of Medini in Nusajaya, Johor, is billed as a food, shopping, entertainment and lifestyle epicentre. Future phases of this project which is adjacent to LEGOLAND Malaysia will introduce recreational activities such as ice skating, laser tag, rock climbing, indoor karting and bowling; art and cultural spaces; theatre and dance; cineplex; and fitness centres.

ISKANDAR Malaysia is not exclusive to big-time domestic and foreign investors, government-linked companies (GLCs) or businessmen with deep pockets.

It is open to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) which, according to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, have a place and important role to play in the development of the country's first economic growth corridor.

“We welcome all investors regardless of their size. We do not segregate our investor strategy into foreign or domestic, or even size small, medium or big,” he says in an interview with StarBizWeek.

Instead, IRDA aims to have “value proposition strategies and incentives” to attract high value-added and low-carbon investors to enable Iskandar Malaysia to become an international metropolis, he adds.

“Size doesn't matter to us. What is more important is that Iskandar Malaysia and its residents benefit from their (investors) presence in the long run.”

Ismail says that local SMEs, especially those based in South Johor, will definitely benefit from the influx of multinational corporations (MNCs) as well as foreign SMEs into Iskandar Malaysia.

“Local SMEs should not regard the presence of the MNCs and foreign SMEs in Iskandar Malaysia as a threat, but more like windows of opportunity.

“They could work closely with their foreign counterparts in terms of technology transfer and exploring new markets,” he says.

Backbone of the country

According to Ismail, SMEs will remain the backbone of the country's economy as they have been around for years supporting the big companies and MNCs.

He notes that several of the public-listed companies from Johor started as SMEs, and through perseverance and hard work have now emerged as multi-million ringgit entities.

There are more than 69,000 SMEs in Johor at the end of 2010, and 70% or 49,000 of them are located in Iskandar Malaysia employing 176,000 workers from a total workforce of 660,000.

From the total 69,000 SMEs, 81% are micro-businesses (employing five or fewer workers), 17% are small-size outfits, while 2% are medium-size operations which are ready to exit the SME category to become full-fledged enterprises.

“The 81% indicates that there is still more work that needs to be done to improve and further develop the SMEs in Iskandar Malaysia,” he says.

Ismail says that the development of SMEs should be in tandem with three sources of support from the Government, the SME associations, and the succesful SME themselves.

He says the Government has put in place policies and regulations through the SME Corp and the associations representing SMEs from different business sectors or levels.

“In the interest of SME development, policies and directions including guidelines and requirements for setting up new SMEs and to assist the current ones should be simplified and made clearer,” says Ismail, adding that outdated regulations should be removed.

“We strongly believe that SMEs contribute significantly to the development of Iskandar Malaysia and we have from the beginning been bringing in catalytic projects to help the SMEs grow,” he says.

Ismail says the huge amount of investments would bring about demand in the key economic sectors that are being promoted in Iskandar Malaysia. The sectors are electrical and electronics; petrochemical and oleochemical; food and agro-processing; logistics and related services; tourism; health; education; financial services; and, ICT and creative industry.

Close to RM100bil Since its launch on Nov 4, 2006, Iskandar Malaysia has recorded a total cumulative investments of RM99.79bil as at Sept 30 this year. “Apart from bringing in investments, we are also working closely with the relevant agencies responsible for SME development based on four approaches awareness, guidance, training and facilitation in order to build capacity and ability for the SMEs to participate in the development and economic growth of Iskandar Malaysia,” says Ismail. He says Iskandar Malaysia creates opportunities for the SMEs via business-matching programmes and focus groups, discussions or events, as well as provide the necessary assistance through incentives and facilitation of grants and loans. “But at the end of the day, they (the SMEs) must be willing to embrace changes including their mindset to participate in the development of Iskandar Malaysia. “We will continue to support the local SMEs but we can only do so much. The rest comes from them or else they will miss the boat as Iskandar Malaysia progresses to the next level,” says Ismail. He urges the SMEs to utilise the Iskandar Malaysia Service Centre located at the IRDA headquarters in Danga Bay in Johor to gain a better insight of the business opportunities available to them in the growth corridor. Located in the southernmost part of Johor, Iskandar Malaysia covers 2,217sqkm and is three times bigger than Singapore and twice the size of Hong Kong. SMEs in Iskandar Malaysia > Johor has more than 69,000 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) at the end of 2010, with 70% or 49,000 of the SMEs located in Iskandar Malaysia and employing 176,000 workers from a total workforce of 660,000. > Of the 69,000 SMEs, 81% are micro-businesses (employing five or fewer workers), 17% are small-size outfits, and 2% are medium-size operations on the verge of becoming full-fledged enterprises. > As at Sept 30, 2012, Iskandar Malaysia recorded a total cumulative investments of RM99.79bil since the country's first economic growth corridor was launched on Nov 4, 2006. > Key economic sectors promoted in Iskandar Malaysia are electrical and electronics; petrochemical and oleochemical; food and agro-processing; logistics and related services; tourism; health; education; financial services; and, ICT and creative industry. > For inquiries, contact the Iskandar Malaysia Service Centre (1800-88-3010 / enquiries@irda.com.my).

Close to RM100bil

Since its launch on Nov 4, 2006, Iskandar Malaysia has recorded a total cumulative investments of RM99.79bil as at Sept 30 this year.

“Apart from bringing in investments, we are also working closely with the relevant agencies responsible for SME development based on four approaches awareness, guidance, training and facilitation in order to build capacity and ability for the SMEs to participate in the development and economic growth of Iskandar Malaysia,” says Ismail.

He says Iskandar Malaysia creates opportunities for the SMEs via business-matching programmes and focus groups, discussions or events, as well as provide the necessary assistance through incentives and facilitation of grants and loans.

“But at the end of the day, they (the SMEs) must be willing to embrace changes including their mindset to participate in the development of Iskandar Malaysia.

“We will continue to support the local SMEs but we can only do so much. The rest comes from them or else they will miss the boat as Iskandar Malaysia progresses to the next level,” says Ismail.

He urges the SMEs to utilise the Iskandar Malaysia Service Centre located at the IRDA headquarters in Danga Bay in Johor to gain a better insight of the business opportunities available to them in the growth corridor.

Located in the southernmost part of Johor, Iskandar Malaysia covers 2,217sqkm and is three times bigger than Singapore and twice the size of Hong Kong.

> Johor has more than 69,000 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) at the end of 2010, with 70% or 49,000 of the SMEs located in Iskandar Malaysia and employing 176,000 workers from a total workforce of 660,000.

> Of the 69,000 SMEs, 81% are micro-businesses (employing five or fewer workers), 17% are small-size outfits, and 2% are medium-size operations on the verge of becoming full-fledged enterprises.

> As at Sept 30, 2012, Iskandar Malaysia recorded a total cumulative investments of RM99.79bil since the country's first economic growth corridor was launched on Nov 4, 2006.

> Key economic sectors promoted in Iskandar Malaysia are electrical and electronics; petrochemical and oleochemical; food and agro-processing; logistics and related services; tourism; health; education; financial services; and, ICT and creative industry.

> For inquiries, contact the Iskandar Malaysia Service Centre (1800-88-3010 / enquiries@irda.com.my).

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Business , Iskandar Malaysia , SME

   

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