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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iskandar: Now best time to set up shop in EduCity

Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), the catalytic developer of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, said it will initiate talks soon with foreign business and law school operators to set up shop in EduCity, the 120ha education enclave in Nusajaya.

Managing director Arlida Ariff said there are signs that the economy is recovering and now would be the best time to start talks with players in the education sector to keep EduCity vibrant.

So far, the UK's Newcastle University of Medicine (NuMed) has agreed to set up a branch campus worth US$100 million (RM347 million) in EduCity.

The NuMed campus, the first outside the UK, will start construction soon and open in 2011.
IIB, which is majority controlled by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, is currently in talks with Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz and Maritime Institute de Ruyter, to set up a world-class maritime institute in EduCity.

Arlida said IIB is also in talks with two other universities to set up engineering and hospitality schools in EduCity.

"The plan for EduCity is to have multi-purpose campuses. We are looking at a minimum of eight universities," she told Business Times in an interview.

EduCity, envisioned as 'A Community of Best Practices in Academia', will be developed in two phases under a 10-year plan (2008-2018).

Development on the 49.12ha in the first phase has started. It features four universities with a combined capacity of 4,000 students.

The second phase will see another four universities and this would double the student enrolment.

Meanwhile, IIB has awarded a total of RM1.2 billion worth of infrastructure projects to local contractors since January this year to spearhead developments in Iskandar Malaysia.

IIB had awarded WCT Bhd four contracts worth RM766.5 million to build roads, sewerage pumping stations and electrical sub-stations at Medini in Iskandar Malaysia.

Depending on the amount of new investments coming in next year, IIB may call for new tenders but on a smaller scale.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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