Iskandar Investment plans to do this by introducing new catalytic projects for sustainable growth.
President and chief executive officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim said the aim is to make Iskandar Malaysia a metropolis of international standing, comparable to London, New York, Auckland and Singapore. It also plans to turn the region into one of the world’s top 10 most livable cities.
Based on the strategic roadmap, 2012 is the tipping point for Iskandar Malaysia and it has achieved the level as most of the catalytic projects planned since 2006 have been recently completed.
“A livable city means having a good mix of community, leisure, education, healthcare, entertainment, art, quality, security, broadband connectivity and public transport. We knew what the gaps were and came up with the roadmap to bridge the gap.
“The roadmap has all these components that we need to do to achieve the vision of Iskandar Malaysia in becoming a metropolis of international standing,” Syed Mohamed said in an interview.
He added that investments by the Federal government to build new infrastructure and develop catalytic projects have supported the current situation in Iskandar Malaysia, which is buzzing with activities.
“Perhaps, we shouldn’t have been too cautiously optimistic in developing Iskandar Malaysia. We should have built more five-star hotels. We have shortage of rooms now in Johor,” Syed Mohamed said.
He said despite the global financial crisis, there is still a lot of vested interest in Iskandar Malaysia.
“We have secured investors or investments from the Far East, including Japan, China and South Korea. There are more investors in the Iskandar region today as they see the upside and potential. Those early birds are laughing their way to the banks,” Syed Mohamed said.
He said several European companies have asked Iskandar Investment if it intends to attract investors from Europe.
“We will be cautious and realistic with new investments pouring into the region to make sure that they benefit from putting their money there.
“We have learnt the lesson from places in other parts of the world, which were considered hot spots. There was phenomenal growth, which was creating an artificial situation. The demand was not real, but created by speculators,” Syed Mohamed noted.
He said Iskandar Investment wants to ensure that demand in Iskandar Malaysia is “real”.
“Growth should not be fuelled by pure speculation. We want the region to remain a healthy investment destination,” Syed Mohamed added.
Property prices in some well-planned housing projects are now hovering around RM700-RM800 per square feet (psf) in Iskandar Malaysia, from RM300 psf in two to three years ago, especially in the Nusajaya area.