Size of JS-SEZ to bring more benefits to a host of industries


PETALING JAYA: The location and size of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ), covering Iskandar Malaysia and Pengerang, will benefit a lot more companies and sectors.

RHB Research said it is upbeat about the recent new reports that JS-SEZ will cover a total of 3,505sq km, with about 2,300sq km in Iskandar Malaysia and 1,200sq km in Pengerang.

Landowners with parcels located in strategic areas in Iskandar Malaysia and Pengerang that are closer to the Second Link to Singapore and Kulai will benefit more, the research house said.

These include UEM Sunrise Bhd, Sunway Bhd, and IOI Properties Group Bhd.

Other major landowners in Iskandar Malaysia include Mah Sing Group Bhd, LBS Bina Group Bhd, Eco World Development Group Bhd, AME Elite Consortium Bhd, KSL Holdings Bhd, Scientex Bhd, Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd and Crescendo Corp Bhd.

Even other non-developers such as YTL Corp Bhd, with 1,640 acres in Kulai, MPHB Capital Bhd with 1,663 acres in Pengerang, and MMC Corp Bhd being a controlling stakeholder of Port of Tanjung Pelepas, will benefit from the SEZ.

RHB Research does not rule out the possibility that some plantation companies that have sizable holdings in Iskandar Malaysia may also explore opportunities that the SEZ will bring.

Besides providing more clarity about the size and location of JS-SEZ, the Johor government also mentioned 16 economic sectors that will be focused on that are expected to provide spillover benefits to the people of the state.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi recently said the SEZ will involve six local councils – Johor Baru, Iskandar Puteri, Pasir Gudang, Kulai, Pontian and Kota Tinggi.

The economic sectors that are expected to play a significant role in the SEZ include electrical and electronics, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, aviation, specialty chemicals, logistics, healthcare, education, halal industry, finance and business services, digital economy and tourism.

RHB Research said it understands green/renewable energy is also included.

The research house said the zoning of the SEZ is a lot wider than expected and although the areas involved are huge, the research house believes the infrastructure and key economic activity will likely focus on key locations, such as Johor Baru.

It would also cover Iskandar Puteri and Pasir Gudang, both of which feature mainly townships and industrial areas; Kulai, which is home to Senai International Airport, residential and industrial areas, and data centres; and Pengerang, which is a regional oil and gas hub.

Once set up the SEZ would be nearly twice the size of China’s Shenzhen at 3,505 sq km.

Official engagements with Singapore on the economic zone are expected to begin in June, Onn Hafiz said.

The research house said it believes upcoming news about JS-SEZ will likely cover more details on the execution, which may include the implementation of a passport-free QR code immigration clearance system, adoption of digitised processes for cargo clearance, as well as potential incentives to be offered to players in various industries.

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