IRDA eyes RM300bil total investment by third quarter of 2019

JOHOR BAHRU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) is confident of reaching the RM300bil mark for its total cumulative committed investment in the third-quarter of 2019.

Chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said it would put the country’s first economic growth corridor on the right track to achieve the RM383bil investment target by 2025.

“Interest on Iskandar Malaysia remains strong since day one despite us operating in the ever-changing investment climate and competition from other countries in the region,’’ he said in an interview with StarBiz recently.

Ismail said Irda was not resting on its laurels despite progress and development taking place in Iskandar Malaysia for the past 13 years.

He said from 2006 to Dec 31, 2018, Iskandar Malaysia recorded RM285.34bil in committed investments of which RM194.81bil or 62% came from domestic investors while RM90.5bil (38%) were from foreign investors.

Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia’s top five countries with the highest investments from 2006 to last December were China, Singapore, the USA, Japan and Spain.

“We received RM32.23bil investments for the whole of last year and this year we are targeting to attract about RM30bil investments,’’ he said.

Ismail said from 2006 until 2018, the services sector namely tourism, education, finance, healthcare, creative and logistics recorded RM28.9bil investments which included emerging technology.

He said in 2018 alone, the tourism sector let the services sector with RM1.94bil investments followed by education with RM940bil and logistics at RM670mil.

Launched on Nov 4, 2006, located in the southernmost part of Johor, Iskandar Malaysia spanning 2,217 sq km - three times larger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong.

It is divided into five flagship developments zones – Johor Baru City Centre, Iskandar Puteri, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.

The Federal government had on last month announced the doubling of the area of coverage of 2,217 sq km to 4,749 sq km.

The expanded Iskandar Malaysia will be known as Greater Iskandar Malaysia, and will encompass parts of Kluang in central Johor, Kota Tinggi in the east and Pontian in the west.

Ismail said the areas would also include Simpang Renggam and Renggam in Kluang, Pontian town and Pengeran and Desaru in Kota Tinggi.

He said Irda would work closely with the Agriculture Ministry to promote and develop modern agriculture and to attract and encourage youths in Kluang, Kota Tinggi and Pontian to take up modern farming.

Ismail added it only logical to attract include Pengerang and Desaru as part of the Greater Iskandar Malaysia in order to attract more players and investors from the oil and gas and the tourism sectors there.

“Moving forward, the most important agenda for us will be to ensure that the economic growth of Iskandar Malaysia is sustainable,’’ he said.

Source: The Star Online