Thursday, August 30, 2012

Iskandar CEO counts on hitting RM100b target

Business Times: Thu, Aug 30

[JOHOR BARU] Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) is confident of breaching the RM100 billion (S$40 billion) mark in cumulative committed investments by the end of the year, according to Malaysian daily The Star.

Chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim said hitting the target would be a major coup in proving to sceptics that Iskandar Malaysia was moving in the right direction.

He said Iskandar Malaysia had been able to withstand the challenges despite operating amid uncertainties in the global economic situation and emerge even stronger thereafter. "Like in the stock market, it (the RM100 billion mark) is the psychological breakthrough and a defining moment for all of us in Iskandar Malaysia," Mr Ismail told StarBiz.

Mr Ismail said all stakeholders had to work even harder to ensure Iskandar Malaysia achieve the target of RM383 billion investments as outlined in the Comprehensive Development Plan.

Mr Ismail was speaking to reporters at the topping up ceremony of the Singapore-based ECON Healthcare Pte Ltd's RM40 million Medicare Centre and Nursing Home in Taman Perling.

He said from 2006 to the second quarter of this year, Iskandar Malaysia had received RM95.45 billion cumulative committed investments in various sectors, with RM41.35 billion or 43 per cent already been realised.

"We are confident of attracting another RM4.55 billion in new investments from now until end of the year and these are coming from the manufacturing and the service sectors,'' said Mr Ismail.

StarBiz learnt that to date, Iskandar Malaysia had received RM97.95 billion in cumulative committed investments but an official announcement would only be made next month.

He said when Iskandar Malaysia was launched on Nov 4, 2006, there were more non-believers than believers but it has reversed now. Iskandar Malaysia is the country's first economic growth corridor, located in the southernmost part of Johor spanning 2,217 sq km and three times bigger than Singapore.

Earlier this week, the branch chairman of Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Koh Moo Hing warned that prospective buyers would have to pay more for residential properties within Iskandar Malaysia in the next six to 12 months.

Mr Koh attributed the anticipated price hike to rising land costs, labour shortages and the escalating prices of building materials such as cement and steel.

He also pointed out that property prices in Iskandar had yet to achieve the levels of those in the Klang Valley and Penang.

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