Ismail: There is room for further growth in the coming years.
Chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said Temasek’s presence in Iskandar showed the confidence that the Singapore government investment arm had in the country’s first economic growth corridor.
“Its presence will not only attract investors from the republic but also those from other countries into Iskandar,” Ismail said in an interview withStarBiz.
Ismail said Irda had received interests from Indonesian investors as well as from China, India and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, especially on education, healthcare and tourism in Iskandar.
He said unknown to many, Temasek’s presence in south Johor had started long before the inception of Iskandar on November 4, 2006.
Located in the southern part of Johor, Iskandar spans 2,217 sq km and is three times bigger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong.
It is divided into five flagship development zones JB City Centre, Nusajaya, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.
Under the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), Irda has been tasked to transform Iskandar into an international metropolis by 2025.
Ismail said the investment arm’s equities included two reputable property developers here with projects in Skudai and Pasir Gudang areas, which include a well known shopping mall in the Johor Baru central business district.
As of December 31, 2012, Iskandar had secured RM6.32bil investments from Singapore, of which RM5.04bil came from the manufacturing sector, RM698mil education and healthcare and RM585mil from others.
According to Ismail, from 2006 until December 31, 2012, Iskandar had received RM106.31bil in cumulative committed investments. Of this, 63% were from domestic investors while 37% came from foreigners.
He reiterated that Irda did not specifically segregate its investor strategies to foreign or domestic, instead aimed at value proposition strategies and incentives to attract quality and long-term investments to support the key economic sectors promoted by it.
The sectors are electrical and electronics, petrochemical and olechemcial, food and agro-processing, logistics and related services, tourism, health, educational, financial services as well as information and communication technology and creative industry.
Ismail said talks between Singapore and Malaysia had taken place as far back as the initial stage of the development of Iskandar. A lot of feasibility studies were conducted before Temasek made the decision to go big into Iskandar.
“That is why only now we hear Temasek is going a big way in Iskandar,” he said.
He said Irda was happy with the developments taking place in Iskandar but noted that there was room for further growth in the coming years.
He said Irda was looking at investments averaging between RM15bil and RM20bil yearly from 2011 to 2015, up from RM10bil to RM15bil targeted from 2006 to 2010.
For the period between 2020 to 2025, it is aiming RM20bil to RM25bil in investments but these numbers may be reviewed from time to time in view of the changing global investment climate.
“However, the target of RM383bil investments must be achieved by 2025 for Iskandar to succeed as outlined in the CDP,” he said.