Let the facts speak for the IRDA

WITH regard to “Little known of IRDA” by Observant Citizen (The Star, June 26) the IRDA (Iskandar Regional Development Authority) would like to thank the writer for his feedback and comments.

On the point that he had yet come across a single page in major regional publications that directly promotes the Iskandar Malaysia brand, there was a 24-page supplement in fDi magazine which is published by the Financial Times Group of London featuring Iskandar Malaysia in April 2008.

Also in April, there was a four-page Arabic language print supplement in the Middle East edition of Business Week magazine and in the June 16th edition of the International Herald Tribune there was also an Iskandar Malaysia advertisement in the sustainable development special supplement.

Iskandar Malaysia also receives heavy coverage and promotion, including news coverage, feature editorial reports and advertorial on TV networks worldwide, particularly those targeting potential investors.

High-profile networks, which have featured Iskandar Malaysia include pan-regional networks CNBC Asia, CNBC Europe, CNBC Arabiya, PBS (USA), BBC World, Orbit, Channel News Asia, Bloomberg, as well as the national broadcasters in India, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Europe and more.

Editorial coverage of Iskandar reaches potential investors via first class and business class passengers on over 20 leading airlines worldwide through programmes such as “Business of Sport” which has featured Iskandar Malaysia sporting events such as the Iskandar Johor Open golf tournament.

As to his argument that there was no effort to influence regional and international opinion leaders and decision makers, there are many examples of our participation in regional and international forums.

A case in point is when IRDA targeted the leadership of the GCC & Asian investor community via sponsorship of the Business Week Middle East & Asia Leadership Forum in Dubai very shortly after the new brand was launched in April 2008.

This provided opportunities for networking with potential investors and opinion leaders. In collaboration with Business Week, Iskandar Malaysia has enjoyed extensive branding exposure which is distributed globally in the run up to the event.

These efforts have resulted in an influx of investments from the Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. The most recent investment comes from the Damac group of Dubai, which purchased a prime waterfront property in Iskandar Malaysia for an estimated RM397mil in June 2008.

In fact 70% of the targeted RM 47bil in committed developments for the period 2006-2010 has been achieved and we are encouraged by the progress to date.

Our efforts have resulted in our participation in the World Congress on Information Technology 2008 held in Kuala Lumpur recently. Indian investments into Iskandar Malaysia from well-known developers such as Mantri received extensive coverage in the Indian media.

One of our latest promotional efforts is the one-year sponsorship of an innovation segment called “Hubs of Innovation” in a Business Week programme, which has broadcasted every two weeks on CNBC since May 2008.

The segment features the Iskandar Malaysia logo very prominently at the start and end of the segment, which has a very strong viewership among regional opinion and business leaders.

Our advertising and promotional efforts for Iskandar Malaysia will continue and we welcome such comments and suggestions.

NASSER ISMAIL,

Vice-President, Strategic Communications

IRDA,

Johor Baru.