Scope of Special Economic Zone with Singapore to be finalised in October, says Onn Hafiz

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Malaysia and Singapore are expected to finalise the Terms of Reference (TOR) next month for the setting up of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said the SEZ would be further discussed during the leaders' retreat involving Malaysia and Singapore in October.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong will be attending the retreat in Singapore.

“Matters on the SEZ will be discussed further during the leaders' retreat and will then be followed up with the TOR,” he said in reply to Andrew Chen Kah Eng (PH-Stulang) at the one-day Johor assembly meeting here on Thursday (Sept 14).

Chen had asked about the status of the SEZ.

Onn Hafiz added that through the 16th Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) in Singapore on July 14, both countries agreed to create a special task force to study the establishment of the SEZ and this matter has actually been discussed since the end of last year.

“I am truly happy and excited about this development and announcement because it will continue to strengthen the good relationship between Johor and Singapore for mutual prosperity and progress.

“Johor and Singapore will cooperate more closely and complement each other for the good of the people in both countries,” he said.

Anwar had recently announced that the government had designated the multi-billion-ringgit Forest City project as a special financial zone to spur the economy in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said among the incentives were allowing for multiple entry visas, fast-track entry for those working from Singapore and a flat income tax rate of 15% for knowledge workers.

He said these incentives were in addition to what was previously announced for Forest City.

Anwar said Johor has a uniqueness as it was next to Singapore and instead of competing with each other, Malaysia and the island republic could complement each other.

Earlier, before the start of the state assembly meeting, newly-elected Simpang Jeram assemblyman Nazri Abdul Rahman was sworn in front of Speaker Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

He won the recently-concluded by-election with a 3,514 majority, beating Perikatan Nasional’s Dr Mohd Mazri Yahya and Independent candidate S. Jeganathan.

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