PETALING JAYA (July 3): The catalytic developer and master planner of Iskandar Puteri, Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), wants to attract investments in agriculture technology (agritech) and emerging technology such as drones, blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality for its next phase of growth starting in 2022, The Edge Malaysia reported this week.
IIB president and CEO Datuk Khairil Anwar Ahmad told the weekly that by promoting these sectors, high-value jobs can be created for Malaysians, especially Johor residents, while boosting the country’s food security via agritech.
“Under Iskandar Next, we are focusing more on digital initiatives, including emerging technologies. We hope that through this programme, more companies will be part of the ecosystem, establishing their businesses here and therefore generating jobs and populating the area,” said Khairil.
“If there are more working people in the area, then there will be more demand for food and beverage outlets, housing, schools and hospitals,” he added.
Khairil explained that there is a need to focus on emerging technologies as digital transformation has been pushed ahead by the global Covid-19 pandemic
“Previously, there was a lot of international travel, but now doing business virtually is happening more and more, and deals are done over screens.
“Industries such as logistics and supply chain need to change, as they need to be nimble. That is why AI and VR are developing fast. We cannot be left behind as a country. You look at Singapore in comparison; despite the pandemic, they attracted TikTok to relocate there. They attracted Zoom.
“Why? Because these companies feel that Singapore is a good destination for their businesses. Why can’t we attract the same companies, create the same kind of jobs? We have good infrastructure, good schools, good hospitals, a good airport. We have talents and a much lower cost of doing business,” he said.
IIB is also planning to launch another integrated township in Iskandar Puteri tentatively called Integrated Sustainable Living (ISL).
ISL will cover 3,000 acres with a 500-acre mangrove reserved for ecotourism, and research and education.
Among the sustainability features will be an 83% pedestrian permeability for a walkable township, 90% public transport coverage, a rainwater harvesting system for both potable and non-potable water, solar power and waste recycling.
“The master plan has been approved by the state, but we have yet to decide whether to do it on our own or partner with other developers.
“We want to do projects that can be attained by the local population, and we also want to attract people from other states. Whether we attract foreigners will depend on the price range but, for now, we should be more focused on our local community,” said Khairil.
Read the full report in this week’s The Edge Malaysia
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