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Monday, March 21, 2011

RM6bil invested in Nusajaya

Nusajaya is expected to benefit from better Malaysia-Singapore bilateral ties. Picture shows Bangunan Sultan Ismail, the Johor State Legislative building in Kota Iskandar, Nusajaya.

NUSAJAYA: A total of RM6.15bil in new investments from local and foreign investors have been received for development projects in the eight catalyst developments (except EduCity components) in Nusajaya.

UEM Land Holdings Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said the investments included RM500mil from Biocon Ltd, India to invest at SiLC (Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters), RM2.3bil Canal Homes at Puteri Harbour by Bandaraya Development Bhd and RM500mil by Pantai Group for the Gleneagles Hospital at Medini.

Datuk Wan Abdullh Wan Ibrahim

“Albeit operating in the global economic recession in 2008 and 2009, following the US sub-prime crisis and the European financial woes, we have been able to attract investments to Nusajaya,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

UEM Land Holdings is the master developer of the 9,308ha Nusajaya, which is one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia. The latter is the country's first economic growth corridor, launched on Nov 4, 2006, and spanning 2,217 sq km located in the southernmost part of Johor.

Wan Abdullah said Nusajaya was going to benefit from the improvement in bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore.

“Prior to this improvement, Singaporeans were waiting for a signal from their government on whether to invest in Nusajaya or Iskandar Malaysia.

“The announcement (in the middle of last year) that Khazanah Malaysia and Temasek Holdings would jointly develop a wellness township development in Danga Bay has sent a strong signal to Singaporeans to come and invest in Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.

Apart from targeting Singapore investors, UEM Land is also looking for Singaporeans who want to buy property or a second home in Johor.

“In Singapore you can't get get a landed property for S$1mil, whereas you can get a semi-D or bungalow in Iskandar for RM1mil,” he said.

“We are also targeting Malaysian professionals working in Singapore who want to stay in Nusajaya because of the close proximity to the Second Link.”

Another market UEM Land is seeking to tap is the middle-class segment from India, which comprises some 300 million Indians, and those from the Middle East.

“Despite the political uprisings in the Middle East, the region remains high in liquidity due to the strong petro-dollar. They'll look at safe havens to park their money,” Wan Abdullah said.

Five years ago, local and foreigners alike were quite skeptical when Nusajaya was launched amid a grand and glittering ceremony by the fifth Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Many doubted whether UEM Land would be able to undertake the gargantuan task once the party was over.

“We have proven our skeptics wrong and many are now really impressed with the progress being made in Nusajaya since day one,'' said Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim .

“Nusajaya was best described as a rough diamond in its early years. No one really gives a second look but with cuts on it, the stone is slowly showing its sparkle now,” said Wan Abdullah.

Wan Abdullah said much work needed to be done before Nusajaya, which is the largest urban development in South-East Asia, under the became a regional city by 2025.

Wan Abdullah said as the master developer of Nusajaya, the company's vision was to build a modern city with a focus on enhancing the lives of its residents.

He said Nusajaya must be a city unlike any other city in Malaysia and that the city must have signature developments to realise its vision to become Asia's new regional city and benchmarking itself with other major cities in the world.

Nusajaya comprises eight catalyst developments Kota Iskandar (Johor State New Administrative Centre), SiLC, Puteri Harbour Waterfront Development, EduCity, Health and Wellness, International Destination Resort and Nusajaya Residences.

Wan Abdullah said apart from continuing to attract new investments and strong interest from investors, several of the company's completed projects in Nusajaya had also won prestigious awards such as the Fiabci Malaysia Property Award 2009 (Puteri Harbour), Best Golf Development CNBC Asia Pacific Property Awards 2009 (Horizon Hills) and Fiabci Malaysia Property Ward 2010 for Public Sector (Kota Iskandar).

He said works on infrastructure and several projects in Nusajaya were on schedule and expected to be completed this year and within the next two to four years.

These include the RM1.4bil Coastal Highway linking Johor Baru city centre to Nusajaya, Asia's first Legoland Theme Park, Indoor Theme Park @ Puteri Harbour, Marlborough College, Newcastle University Medical Faculty, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology and Pinewood Malaysia Iskandar Studios.

“On completion of these projects, Nusajaya will have enough content to attract investors and residents,'' said Wan Abdullah.

He added that it would be much easier to convince and attract them to Nusajaya as they could witness the developments taking place, unlike when it was first started five years ago.

Nevertheless, Wan Abdullah said UEM Land would not rest on its laurels and feel satisfied with what it had achieved so far; instead it would work even harder to keep the momentum going.

By The Star

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