DUBAI: The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) is exploring ways for Iskandar Malaysia to play a prominent role in meeting the demands of the global halal market.
Irda chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said that while the world market for halal products was enormous, the supply of such goods had only reached 20%.
He is hoping Malaysia would use the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), from Oct 28 to 30 here, to get like-minded economies to explore the many possibilities.
“With 80% supply of halal products still not met, we should explore how to grab the opportunity to feed the demand.
“I believe the potential of the halal market will be among the issues discussed at the forum. Delegates are interested to know how this can be further ventured into,” he told the Malaysian media on the sidelines of the WIEF.
Ismail said that the economic region of Iskandar could play a big role in manufacturing and processing, as well as the distribution of halal food that could see it become one of the key players in the sector.
He added that another area which Iskandar was keen to explore further was the creative industry, which he believes has tremendous potential for growth.
As an example, he cited the opening of Pinewood Studios, which would create employment for 9,400 people and an investment worth RM3.8bil over a seven-year period, of which half would be in-country spending.
“This creative industry is considered new for Malaysia and the region. We plan to capitalise on this to get more players in the sector to work from Iskandar,” Ismail said.
He added that Johor’s over 300,000 small and medium enterprises would stand to benefit from the development of these two sectors, which would generate many business and job opportunities for the local community.
Ismail said investments from Middle-East countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in the southern development corridor stood at 12% and is expected to further rise with the interest shown by the UAE in the oil and oleo-chemical sector.
Ismail also said the United States was also keen to be a part of Iskandar Malaysia, with the possibility of investments in aviation and health-care services.
Earlier, Hershey Co, North America’s biggest chocolate maker, had announced an investment of RM816mil in a new state-of-the-art confectionary plant in Johor to meet the growing demand for its products in the region.
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