Iskandar expected to be self-sustaining in less than 10 years

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) expects the country’s first economic growth corridor to be a “self-sustaining region” in less than ten years, spurred on by a steady stream of domestic and foreign investments.

“We are confident of achieving total target of about RM383bil when the economic growth corridor reaches maturity in 2025 based on Iskandar Malaysia’s annual growth of between 7% and 8%,” chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim told StarBiz.

“To achieve that, we will continue to seek both domestic and foreign investments and ensure that our catalytic projects are successfully delivered,’’ he said.

Total cumulative committed investment has grown from RM11.30bil in 2006 to RM218.84bil as at Sept 30, 2016.

He said Irda targeted between RM25bil and RM30bil in cumulative committed investments annually from the nine promoted sectors that have high value added and employ high technology among others.

“We are only going for long-term investors who will help to boost our economic growth and not those who exit the scene early,’’ said Ismail.

He said presently domestic investors made up 70% of total investments with 30% from foreign investors, adding that Irda targeted to achieve 60:40 for domestic and foreign investors in the coming years.

He said Iskandar Malaysia’s development was guided by the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP2006-2025) which detailed its roadmap development.

Located in the southernmost part of Johor, it was launched on Nov 4, 2006, spanning 2,217 sq km – three times bigger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong.

It is divided into five flagship development zones – JB City Centre, Iskandar Puteri formerly known as Nusajaya, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.

The population in the region grew from 1.4 million in 2006 to 1.9 million in 2016 and the figure is expected to grow to three million people by 2025.

The nine promoted sectors are electrical and electronics, petrochemical and oleo-chemical, food and agro-processing, logistics, tourism, health care, education, financial services and creative industries.

Ismail foresees next 15 years as the most crucial journey in developing and transforming Iskandar Malaysia into a strong metropolis of international standing.

He said more than 682,169 jobs had been created in the region for the 10 years of which 15% were skilled jobs and about 817,500 job opportunities by 2025 of which 25% would be skilled workers.

“Johor also enjoys an increase in average household income from RM4,658 in 2012 to RM6,207 in 2014 and this reflects how Iskandar Malaysia has benefited the rakyat in Johor,’’ added Ismail.

Ismail described Iskandar Malaysia’s journey in the past decade since its inception as “a great one and challenging at the same time yet satisfying”.

He attributed the success of Iskandar Malaysia to date to the undivided supports from the federal and Johor governments, the local authorities and key stakeholders.

He pointed out that despite uncertainties and challenges in the global economic landscape, the economic growth corridor managed to chalk up commendable investment flows into south Johor.

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