JOHOR needs to act fast to attract high-quality and capital-intensive investments into the state during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Low Kueck Shin said Johor had the right ecosystem to attract such investors.
“Johor is a preferred investment destination in Malaysia and it should reaffirm this,’’ he said when contacted.
He said if Johor was not proactive, investors might choose other states to park their money.
He highlighted that Johor’s close proximity to Singapore was an added advantage to attract high-quality and capital-intensive investments.
“At the same time, investors will only choose a country that is politically stable,” he added.
Low said the state also needed dedicated government officials to spearhead efforts in attracting investors.
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry southern branch exco Md Salikon Sarpin said Johor had the potential to attract such investors.
He said the state government and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) had to work together to make this happen.“Johor needs to reduce its dependence on labour-intensive activities and instead focus on high-technology investments,” he said.
Salikon said priority should be given to industries such as fintech, telecommunications, information technology, digital economy and e-commerce.
“We have already seen how important these sectors are during the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order,” he noted.
Other than a stable government, simplifying business processes and procedures as well as efficient delivery systems were important to attract more investments, he added.
Johor South SME adviser Teh Kee Sing said post-Covid-19, neighbouring countries would intensify their attempts to attract high-quality investors.
He noted that Malaysia was still short of world-class professionals, and the country’s tertiary education system had not been able to produce sufficient local talents to cater to the needs of high-quality investors.
“The very obvious example is Iskandar Malaysia which loses talented people to Singapore,’’ he said.
Teh said Johor government must address the lack of high-technology and capital-intensive investments in the state.
“Johor needs to act fast or else we will lose investors to neighbouring countries,” he stressed.
Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar said Johor needed to speed up economic recovery by inviting the right kind of investment to spur growth.
“The focus should be on technology, health care, green technology and infrastructure, digital manufacturing activities and high-value food industries.”
He said the Covid-19 pandemic had shown that digitalisation of the economy would lead to higher growth.
He urged Iskandar Malaysia to tap global investors in the technology and telecommunication sectors.
“The move will help Johor strengthen its position as a leading investment destination,” he said.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Muhammad had said the state government was planning to introduce the Johor Investment Master Plan to study current trends in the world economy.
He said the study would look at economic trends over the past 10 years and take into account current plans and initiatives.