ISKANDAR MALAYSIA REVIEWS DEVELOPMENT PLAN, INTENSIFIES FOCUS ON MODERN FARMING AND YOUTH SECTORSIskandar Malaysia
Review of development plan is crucial taking cognizant of the changes in the local and global market and trends
ISKANDAR MALAYSIA, 16 December 2019 – Stepping up its game to meet the challenges and demands of the local and global market and trends, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is currently reviewing the Comprehensive Development Plan II (CDPii) for Iskandar Malaysia to ensure continuous development of the Rakyat living and working in the region.
“As a special economic zone, Iskandar Malaysia must be able to face and quickly adapt to local and global changes and trends to ensure that its vision to be a strong and sustainable international metropolis of international standing for the Rakyat, and the public as well as the private sectors, is attainable as planned. As such, now more than ever is the appropriate time to review its long-term comprehensive development plan,” said YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister and Co-Chairman, after IRDA’s Members of Authority (MoA) meeting recently.
For YBhg Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive of IRDA,” The review will blend and correspond to the ‘Shared Vision Plan 2030’ and the latest Government’s Plans, Policies and Budget Allocations at the Federal, State and Local levels, the International agendas and standards. The review is also to provide comprehensive action plans and roadmap to achieve Iskandar Malaysia’s targets taking into consideration the new potential sectors into Iskandar Malaysia holistic ecosystem.”
2 of the main themes, amongst others, presented and deliberated in the meeting that will have a major impact on the Rakyat in Iskandar Malaysia is on modern farming and IT-centric youth development, both putting the region’s Smart City focus on technology in the spotlight.
Agriculture is important as access to quality, nutritious food is fundamental to human existence. Secure access to food can produce wide-ranging positive impacts, including economic growth and job creation, poverty reduction, trade opportunities, improved health and healthcare.
With only an estimated 10% of the agricultural land is designated for food production in Malaysia, there is not only a need to modernize the industry to increase production for primary crops, but to also optimize the food production that meets the International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) that could not only meet local demand but export the excess to other markets.
This is evidenced in the 2020 Budget announcement where RM43 million has been set aside for Agriculture Industry 4.0 and another RM20 million allocation to certify talents to be ready for IR4.0.
Given this, as a new promoted sector in the region, the MoA agreed that IRDA needs to study the type of crops suitable for export and also to set the standard on the quality of produces. They also proposed that IRDA concentrates on the technology needed to save land and water, and to attract the youth to participate in the industry.
In Iskandar Malaysia, based on current population estimates 2019 by Department of Statistics, almost half or 48% of its population is of those aged between 16 to 40 years and they are a great asset for Iskandar Malaysia if they are harnessed and utilised in the right direction.
Since 2006, Iskandar Malaysia emphasis on youth development covered a wide range of initiatives from the Johor Student Leadership Council programme, the youth empowerment, arts and culture funds, youth business grants, talent development programmes to the latest establishment of a regional youth hub.
Now, with the review of the region’s development plan, Iskandar Malaysia will look into enhancing its youth leadership programme, implementing a study on youth housing needs and developing a programme that will encourage youth to turn their passion into revenue-generating activities.
In addition to the above, the MoA has agreed for IRDA to look into programmes that enhance youth technology and digital skills and knowledge, in preparation of IR4.0.
Meanwhile, from January to September 2019, Iskandar Malaysia cumulative committed investment reached RM16 billion, excluding Government’s investments, leading to a total of RM308 billion recorded since 2006. Since then, 59% or RM181 billion been realized.
Out of the total RM308 billion, local investors contributed 62% or RM190 billion to the total cumulative committed investments while the balance of 38% or RM118 billion was contributed by the foreign investors, indicating that the development of Iskandar Malaysia has been mainly driven by the domestic investments recently.
The promoted sector, covering education, healthcare, logistics, tourism, creative, financial and business services, food and agro-processing, electrical and electronics and petrochemical & oleochemicals accounted to about RM104 billion or 34% of the total RM308 billion cumulative committed investments. Up to Sept 2019, there is a 15% growth in investments in the promoted sectors especially in logistics and creative sectors compared to 2018.
The top five countries with the highest cumulative committed investments into Iskandar Malaysia from 2006 to September 2019 are China, Singapore, United States, Japan and Netherlands.
“The new Comprehensive Development Plan for Iskandar Malaysia requires the cooperation, support, active participation, commitment and sustained involvement of the many agencies, stakeholders and players at all levels. These include the federal, state and local governments, agencies, business communities, local leaders and communities, as well as global industry players,” said Datuk Ismail.