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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Growing interest from the republic

ISKANDAR Regional Development Authority (Irda) CEO Ismail Ibrahim says Iskandar Malaysia is “blessed with the recent interest from Singapore” and that efforts to attract investments from the city will be intensified.

This will especially be in high value industries such as high-tech and aerospace industries looking for expansion opportunities. One of the efforts currently pursued is setting up of a Singapore Industrial/SME Park in Iskandar Malaysia, he said in an email interview. Iskandar’s focus will continue to be on manufacturing while special focus will be given to creative, tourism, oil and gas and education sectors.

Ismail added that Irda is also working closely with relevant associations and government agencies of Singapore such as its Educational Development Board, Spring, an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry responsible for helping Singapore enterprises grow and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, to name a few.

Interest in Iskandar has increased considerably after top level government initiatives to jointly improve transport links and go into property joint ventures earlier this year.

He says the relationship with Singapore can be strengthened further in growth sectors such as food processing, engineering and technology with the economic corridor providing infrastructure which will be cost advantageous for Singapore’s manufacturing industry.

He says there is a need to develop a vibrant Iskandar-Singapore economic cluster.

He says with “the looming economic uncertainty”, the most challenging part of developing Iskandar Malaysia has been getting various stakeholders to buy-in into the project during this second phase of development of the economic corridor which runs from 2011 to 2015. The first phase is from 2006 to 2010. Iskandar Malaysia, located in southern Johor is three times the size of Singapore.

“I believe many can now see for themselves that Iskandar Malaysia is truly taking shape and bringing in benefits (to those who have earlier invested).

“Additionally, with the full backing of the federal and state government, we are able to offer attractive incentive packages to potential investors. We are consistent in our marketing approach by looking at quality long-term investments in focus sectors and countries. Our strategies may vary depending on the dynamics of the current and future of the world economy,” says Ismail.

“We have to broaden foreign and domestic investor base,” he said.

He said although investments to date have surpassed early targets, attracting further investments from a wider range of foreign and domestic investors, particularly in priority sectors is necessary in order to sustain the momentum of growth and progress generated in the first phase.

By The Star

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