As Singapore Eyes Iskandar, Area Anticipates New Investment Wave
Johor Baru. The chief of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority said Iskandar Malaysia in Johor will develop into a metropolis of international standing.
“To grow into a big metropolis, you need the right ingredients and we have it all in Iskandar,” IRDA chief executive, Ismail Ibrahim, said on the sidelines after a media briefing in Johor Baru on Thursday.
Cumulative investments in Iskandar have breached the 100 billion ringgit ($32.7 billion) mark and key players in the region like IRDA and Iskandar Investment are expecting a new wave of development next year, led by domestic interest and Singapore.
Iskandar, three times the size of Singapore, was launched in 2006. From then up to Sept. 30 this year, cumulative investments had reached 99.79 billion ringgit, with 63 percent domestically-driven.
Thirty-seven percent were foreign investments and from that amount, 42 percent came from Europe, 44 percent from Asia, including Japan and Korea, and 14 percent from the Middle East.
According to Ismail, there is rising interest from bigger companies in Singapore that are looking to invest in Iskandar.
Ismail said the Khazanah Nasional and Temasek Holdings partnership to develop parcels of land in Iskandar has spurred interest among Singaporean investors.
The two sovereign wealth funds plan to build 3 billion ringgit worth of properties in Iskandar through their partnership called Pulau Indah Ventures.
Ismail said the project showed confidence from Singapore, which would lead to more investments from the country and other global investors.
“Previously, we had small and medium-sized companies from Singapore that were investing in Iskandar. With improved bilateral trade between Malaysia and Singapore, we anticipate bigger companies to arrive here.
“We recently had Fastrack Autosports of Singapore, which said it wants to build a 3.5 billion ringgit motorsports city in Gerbang Nusajaya. All this is good for Iskandar,” Ismail said.
The 108 hectare motorsports city is a joint venture between UEM Land, a unit of UEM Land Holdings, and Fastrack, controlled by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim who has also indicated his interest to venture into real estate development in Iskandar.
Last year Lim had also announced a plan to develop a 200 million ringgit healthcare project at Stulang Laut in Johor Baru.