JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia, the country’s first economic growth corridor, continues to attract strong interest among local and foreign investors as well as visitors since its inception 13 years ago.
According to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) CEO Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, the current progress and ongoing development will position Iskandar Malaysia as a sustainable investment centre by 2025.
In February this year, the Government has doubled the size of the economic growth corridor to 4,749 sq km from 2,217 sq km previously with new areas to include parts of Kluang in central Johor, Kota Tinggi in the east and Pontian in the west as part of Greater Iskandar Malaysia.
Ismail told StarBiz that “Iskandar Malaysia is now fully geared up to achieve its vision and mission. Furthermore, with the expansion in size, I hope this will help to generate more interest in the region”.
Between 2016 and end-2018, Iskandar Malaysia has received a total cumulative committed investment of RM285.34bil.
Of the total, domestic investors have contributed RM194.81bil or 62% while the balance at RM90.51bil or 38% came from foreign investors, added Ismail.
For the period under review, the top five countries with the highest investments in Iskandar Malaysia were China, Singapore, the United States, Japan and Spain.
The services sector, namely tourism, education, finance, healthcare, creative and logistics as well as emerging technology, posted RM28.9bil in total investments between 2016 and 2018.
As at Dec 31, 2018, the tourism sector led the services sector with total investments worth RM1.94bil, followed by education and logistics at RM940mil and RM670mil respectively.
Ismail noted that Iskandar Malaysia saw a growing number of international brands, which either newly set up or moved their operations to the region.
Hence, the influx of domestic and foreign investors has created more than 740,000 job opportunities.
“Therefore, we are confident of achieving the RM383bil cumulative committed investment target by 2025, despite the challenges in the global economy,’’ he said.
Ismail pointed out that Iskandar Malaysia’s development is guided by the Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), which has detailed out the roadmap for its development from 2006 until 2025.
“The Circle of Sustainability, which is part of the roadmap will ensure that the region is developed holistically through well-balanced economic, social and environmental initiatives. These guidelines will help Irda stay focus in achieving Iskandar Malaysia’s goals and vision, despite whatever disruptions and challenges it may face going forward,” explained Ismail.
He said Irda would regularly review its investment activities and proposed intervention measures to ensure that “we continue to achieve our goals in line with national and global growth’’.
Looking back since the inception of Iskandar Malaysia, Ismail admits that it has been a challenging but yet satisfying journey as all the hard work has brought good results. He noted that the resilience of Iskandar Malaysia was also attributed by the strong working relationships between the state and federal governments, the private entities and the community.
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