JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) will continue to promote the country’s first economic growth corridor to investors in China.
Irda chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said it has taken several steps to attract more multinational corporations (MNCs) from China to relocate their operations to Iskandar Malaysia.
“The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative by China is a good platform where we can further engage with the MNCs there to invest in Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ he said in an interview with StarBiz.
Ismail said Irda was also identifying industries affected by the on-going trade war between China and the United States and embarking on targeted promotion initiatives.
He said that the initiatives involve trade investment missions, engagements with China’s business councils, associations and embassy and attending business programmes in China.
“This (the trade war) will likely benefit Iskandar Malaysia as companies in China will be relocating to other places to do their business to avoid the hefty tariffs.
“China has the highest cumulative committed investments of RM41.06bil from RM108bil foreign investments in Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ said Ismail.
This is followed by Singapore with RM20.52bil, the US (RM7.52bil), Japan (RM5.12bil), Spain (RM4.18bil), South Korea (RM3.68bil), Netherlands (RM3.15bil), Australia (RM2.81bil), Germany with RM2.42bil and India with RM2.37bil.
He said from a different perspective, Irda would also focus on leveraging surrounding nations especially Asean countries, unique economic characteristics as a new investment strategy i.e. being the Asean industrial hub.
Ismail cited Johor Baru’s proximity with Singapore as an added advantage in attracting MNCs not only from China but from all over the world to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.
By investing here, they have Singapore as an international trade and financial centre and enjoy competitive cost in Malaysia, ’’ he added.
Ismail said Irda did not specifically segregate investor-centric strategies into foreign and domestic to avoid being dependent on just a select few.
He said while the manufacturing sector was still relevant to Iskandar Malaysia, it has to move up the value chain.
Ismail said manufacturers involved in in labour-intensive activities should look at other countries which have a large pool of workers and Malaysia’s manufacturing sector could no longer remain labour-intensive.
He said it would always work closely with the Federal and Johor governments to attract investments that could create economic spills-over for Iskandar Malaysia.
“The most important thing is to ensure that Iskandar Malaysia remain attractive as an investment destination regardless of what the global economic situation is, ’’ said Ismail.
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