Iskandar Malaysia needs strong domestic investor base

JOHOR BAHRU: Iskandar Malaysia, the main southern development corridor in Johor, needs a strong domestic investor base to sustain growth momentum.

The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said Iskandar Malaysia would maintain an almost equal ratio between domestic and foreign investments, but a strong presence of domestic investors was needed as they were the ones that would stay.

"At the same time, the presence of foreign investors is also crucial in bringing the latest innovations and creativity, which in turn will bring in new knowledge," said IRDA chief executive Ismail Ibrahim.

Last year, 52% of investments in Iskandar Malaysia were from local investors, while 48% were foreign investments, he told reporters after a tour of Iskandar Malaysia.

The tour was organised by Danga Bay Sdn Bhd, which was awarded a privatisation contract by the Johor government in early 2000 to develop 602ha of waterfront land along Lido Beach on the Straits of Johor.

Ismail said the presence of foreign investors would also create a climate of confidence which in turn would put Malaysia, especially Johor, on investors' radar.

Among the foreign brands in Iskandar Malaysia are the renowned international film production company Pinewood Shepperton plc, Chelsea premium outlets and Legoland theme park.

Legoland, at Nusajaya, is likely to complete in 4Q12 with an expected one million visitors during the first year of operations.

IRDA is the regulatory authority mandated to plan, promote and facilitate the development of Iskandar Malaysia into a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing.

Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia aimed to attract investments worth RM73 billion from 2011 to 2015 as many companies, local and overseas, are planning to relocate their businesses.

He said Iskandar Malaysia was expecting investors from China, South Korea, Japan, India, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

The development area has attracted cumulative investments totalling RM72.48 billion from 2006 to 1Q11.

Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia must prepare to reap the benefits from the increasing trade within Asean due to Free Trade Agreements.

Iskandar Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to reach US$93 billion (RM276 billion) by 2025 from US$20 billion in 2005, and the population is expected to increase to three million from 1.4 million.

Among the projects to be completed this year are the Johor Premium Outlet by year-end with a forecast of four million visitors in its first year of operations, Newcastle Medical University and also new housing projects. — Bernama

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