Irda chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said several measures were taken 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.
Ismail said Irda was also identifying industries affected by the on-going trade war between China and the United States and taking targeted promotion initiatives.
He said the initiatives involved trade investment missions, engagements with China’s business councils, associations and embassy as well as 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 and avoid the hefty tariffs.
“China has the highest cumulative committed investments of RM41.06bil from the 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), the Netherlands (RM3.15bil), Australia (RM2.81bil), Germany (RM2.42bil) and India (RM2.37bil).
He said Irda would also focus on leveraging on surrounding nations, especially Asean countries’ unique economic characteristics as a new investment strategy.
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 labour-intensive activities should look at other countries which have a large pool of workers.
He said 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 create economic spillovers for Iskandar Malaysia.
“The most important factor is to ensure that Iskandar Malaysia remains attractive as an investment destination regardless of what the global economic situation is,’’ said Ismail.
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