Medini in Nusajaya will continue to enjoy special tax holidays and other incentive packages currently reserved for investments in the area for another 10 years after its privileges expire on Dec 31, 2015.
Covering 902.44ha, Medini was conceptualised in 2007 to cater to property development projects which enjoy, among others, zero restrictions on foreign ownership, a RM1mil threshold for foreign property buyers and the real property gains tax (RPGT).
Medini is sub-divided into three development clusters – the financial district, Medini Central, and lifestyle and leisure – with each developed by different developers.
It is part of the 9,712.45ha Nusajaya, one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia spanning 2,217 sq km located in the southern Johor.
“To make Iskandar Malaysia a truly attractive destination for domestic and foreign investors, we need to have more than one node,” Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said in an interview with StarBiz.
He said Irda had been evaluating the region over the years and after much discussion with the federal government, had come to the conclusion that there was a need to introduce new nodes and extend the privileges for Medini.
Ismail said the Government was satisfied with the progress and development taking place in Iskandar Malaysia despite operating in a competitive economic environment due to uncertainties in the global economic growth.
“The three new nodes will further accelerate and spearhead Iskandar Malaysia to the next level to become an international metropolis by 2025, as outlined under our Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) from 2006 to 2025,” he said.
Ismail said that incentives for the Danga Bay waterfront development covered the tourism-related projects, PIMS for creativity-related projects and Vantage Bay for the healthcare-related projects.
“In order to attract investments into Iskandar Malaysia, we have to offer incentives to investors who are promoting the nine key economic sectors under our CDP 2006-2025,” he reiterated.
Irda has decided to focus more on the services sector in offering privileges and incentives to the three new nodes, as it believes it would contribute and transform Iskandar Malaysia into a high-income region by 2025.
The nine key economic sectors are electrical and electronic, petrochemical and oleochemical, food and agro-processing, logistics and related services, tourism, health, education, financial services and the ICT and creative industry.
Asked why incentives were not given to the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors, he said these sectors were already enjoying incentives at the federal level. Hence, there was no need to have such benefits in Iskandar Malaysia.
“I must stress here that property is not one of the nine key economic sectors we are promoting. However, Medini was created at that point of time as we needed a particular location to promote Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.
He added that Medini should continue to enjoy the benefits, as there was still a large tract of land within Medini which was not fully developed, which should be given 10 more years starting from Jan 1, 2016.
Ismail said that Irda could not wait for Medini’s privileges to end in December 2015 to make an announcement on the extension period. The earlier announcement was to give investors confidence and for Medini to remain competitive.
Danga Bay, an international waterfront development starting from Lido Boulevard up to Skudai Kiri and the New Coastal Highway, will enjoy the incentives starting from Sept 1, 2013 until Dec 31, 2020.
It has, to date, secured multi-billion-ringgit investments from domestic and foreign investors developing tourism-related projects such as hotels, convention centres, retail centres, marinas and other tourism-related components,
PIMS, covering 32.37ha and offering 100,000 sq ft of film stages, 24,000 sq ft of television studios as well as offices, workshops, post-production facilities and a fully-serviced 10-acre back-lot, will enjoy the benefits from now until Dec 31, 2020.
“The under-one-roof facilities have been designed to attract large-scale international productions, and it is projected that the studio would have created over 10,000 jobs by 2020,” he said.
The RM400mil project is a collaboration between Khazanah Nasional Bhd and UK-based Pinewood Shepperton PLC, where iconic movies such as James Bond, Aliens, Harry Potter and The Bourne Ultimatum were filmed.
Vantage Bay, covering 11.33ha fronting Stulang Laut and the Eastern Dispersal Link, meanwhile, is a joint-venture multi-billion-ringgit development project between the Johor royal family and Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.
The development will be spearheaded by Thomson Medical, with components to support the healthcare sector such as hotels, wellness centres, residential and retail. The benefits will be enjoyed from Sept 1, 2013 until Dec 31, 2020.
Ismail said Vantage Bay could be the master developer, but there were other developers either on a joint-venture basis or having purchased the land as well, who need to apply before Dec 31, 2020 to qualify for the incentives.
“We need to have the expiry dates (for all the nodes), as this ensures they (investors) develop fast and don’t take their own sweet time,” he pointed out.