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Investments in Iskandar set to gain steam

[ 17-12-2009 ]
Investments in Iskandar set to gain steam
Despite the global economic crisis, Iskandar Malaysia has beaten its full-year target of RM3 billion, drawing some RM9 billion of new investments so far this year


Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, the first and possibly the most ambitious of the country's five economic corridors, has attracted some RM9 billion of new investments so far this year, exceeding its full-year target of RM3 billion, an official said.

"We were able to do this despite the global economic crisis as we had targeted long-term investors," said Harun Johari, the outgoing chief executive officer of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

IRDA is the body responsible for the direction, policies and strategies of Iskandar.

The bulk of the RM9 billion came from local investors and was invested in property, Harun said.


Iskandar, incepted in November 2006, has drawn RM50.5 billion in cumulative investments as at October this year. This is more than the RM44.76 billion it had targeted for the full year.

Out of the RM50.5 billion, 35 per cent has already been spent on actual work on the ground, Harun said.

Iskandar has not been entirely spared the impact of the global crisis. Damac Group, the second biggest property developer in Dubai, a city hit hard by the financial crisis, in June pulled out of a deal with UEM Land Holdings Bhd to buy a piece of land in Nusajaya for RM396.4 million.

It was to have built a world-class integrated waterfront development. That marked the first time that a potential investor had withdrawn from a deal in Iskandar. Damac had pulled out after a property bubble burst in Dubai.

Harun, however, pointed out that Iskandar has since found a "replacement" for the amount of investment lost there in the form of a South Korean investor. He declined to give details on the new investor.

"The important thing is that Iskandar has achieved a lot. The momentum is there and will continue," he said.

He said IRDA's focus over the next two to three years would be to get projects on the ground and generally "make things happen". That is critical as the project has drawn criticism for not having shown speedier developments on the ground.

Harun takes the criticism in stride. "Criticism for a mega-project is normal," he said, adding that it was important for critics to come see for themselves the pace of developments there.

He is confident that his successor, Ismail Ibrahim, will do a good job of continuing the momentum at Iskandar.

Ismail, who takes over in January next year, is currently the director of the National Physical Planning Division under the Urban and Rural Planning Department.

The new role will not be an unfamiliar one as Ismail was previously involved in the inception of Iskandar.
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