JOHOR BARU: Despite a challenging business climate due to the Covid 19 pandemic, Iskandar Malaysia is poised to attract about RM17bil in foreign and local investments into the growth corridor this year.
Iskandar Regional Development Authority chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said that they were optimistic and hopeful of attracting between RM15bil and RM17bil especially with the vaccination for Covid-19 expected to take place this year.
“The pandemic has had a huge effect on investments as last year we only attracted RM17bil when on an average, we attract some RM30bil annually, ” he said, adding that last year they were fortunate to get some foreign investments especially those who were expending their existing investments in Iskandar such as South Hampton University.
He added that since its inception 15 years ago, Iskandar has recorded total cumulative investments of RM337.3bil with over 60% realised.
“At least 59% of the investment are from local investment while the balance was foreign, ” he said, adding that among the top countries were China with RM54.6bil, Singapore (RM24.3bil), United States (RM8.39bil), Japan (RM5.86bil) and others.
Among the investments include hospitals and medical centres, universities and schools, theme parks, a film studio, hotels, shopping centres and modern industrial parks.
Ismail was speaking to reporters after the launch of the Iskandar Malaysia 15-Year Commemorative Campaign’ or ‘IM15CC’ here yesterday.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad launched the event virtually which was witnessed by local government and business leaders.
Asked whether the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic had caused delays in all its major projects in Iskandar, Ismail said that all public infrastructure projects such as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Iskandar Malaysia, the Sungai Segget landscaping and upgrading works, Kempas Interchange and Tanjung Piai highway were all progressing well.
“We are adhering and complying with all the regulation set by the National Security Council (MKN), ” he added.
On the BRT, he said that futuristic-looking buses which run on rechargeable batteries would be playing the city and serving the people of Iskandar.
“It will also be commuting around without drivers and can accommodate up to 340 passengers.
“We expect physical work to start in the fourth quarter of this year. In the meantime we will be launching a pilot programme soon, ” he added.
On the subject of the rakyat who are affected during this Covid-19 pandemic, he added that they have taken steps to ensure that not only could the small business and people survive, but their recovery and survival could be sustained for a longer period through the pandemic and even afterwards.
In conjunction with the launch of the Iskandar Malaysia 15-year Commemorative Campaign, Iskandar Malaysia also announced the ‘Sustainable Socio-Economic Recovery Initiative in Iskandar Malaysia’ or ‘Secure@IskandarMalaysia’.
Secure@IskandarMalaysia is a collection of programmes that will sustain the socio-economic recovery of the community and SMEs in Iskandar Malaysia through three areas which are capacity building, reskilling and upskilling, and funds and grants.
Under this initiative applicants can look for the right programme to help them recover and sustain their livelihood from reskilling and upskilling technical skills, building soft skills to getting the necessary grants and funds to back their
businesses.The Iskandar Malaysia ‘Youth To Biz’ or ‘Y2B’ programme, for example, is a 50:50 matching grant concept for mobile vehicle businesses or business shared facilities with a maximum grant of RM150,000.
The IM Makmur programme, on the other hand, focuses on the minority groups such as single mothers, orphans, fishermen, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and indigenous people to help them overcome the barriers in generating income.
This includes support for job-based and entrepreneurial skills and tuitions for their children.
For local businesses, the Iskandar Malaysia Employment Grant can help them retain current employees and recruit new ones through salary grant matching for up to six months.
Urban farming is becoming increasingly popular and for those who want to be part of the business, they can look forward to the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Farming programme.
There are several options to be a modern farmer in Iskandar Malaysia either through the outdoor integrated farming concept, indoor farming system or the hi-tech modular vertical farming with IoT solutions.In addition to the initiative above, IRDA will also be organising the ‘Iskandar Learning Festival’ or ‘ILF’.
For more information on the Iskandar Malaysia 15-Year Commemorative Campaign or IM15CC, visit www.iskandarmalaysia.com.my/IM15CC.