Iskandar Malaysia optimistic of hitting RM30b target in 2017

Ismail-Ibrahim-irdaISKANDAR PUTERI: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) is optimistic of achieving the target of committed investments of RM30 billion for Iskandar Malaysia this year, despite the challenging economic environment.

Irda chief executive Ismail Ibrahim said in respect of the committed investments, RM19 billion had been secured as of end-August.

“Over the past 10 years and eight months, we have been able to achieve committed investments from domestic and foreign investors worth RM242 billion.

“There is a need to work harder during the rest of the year to ensure that we not only achieve the base committed investment target (RM25 billion), but also exceed our stretch target of RM30 billion,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Invest Iskandar Malaysia 2017 Symposium here, today.

Ismail said the RM19 billion committed investments comprised new and existing investors, and real estate accounted for a portion of it.

“There are existing players who would continue to make annual investment commitments.

“Forest City for example, has committed to more than RM100 billion in investments and the company would definitely be making annual investments of between RM5 billion to RM8 billion,” he said.

Ismail added that Iskandar Malaysia was also open to investments driven by millennials in the future.

“We really have to reach out to them to better understand their point of view on life and work, because their way of thinking is different.

“We need to look at a different horizon, not only from the economic perspective, but also ways to develop Iskandar Malaysia, which is the jewel of southern Peninsular Malaysia’s economic powerhouse,” he said.

Ismail added Iskandar Malaysia’s population is expected to grow from the current 1.9 million to about three million in less than 10 years, and many of them would be millennials.

At the event earlier, Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the millennials would be the drivers of the new economy, and not the government or multinational corporations.

“Iskandar Malaysia must be ready to facilitate this transformation into the new economy driven by them.

“It is time that we celebrate the new economy, not merely by facilitating, but also by nurturing it,” he said in his opening speech at the symposium.

Khaled also said Iskandar Malaysia should draw new investments which would venture beyond the conventional industries, not just in property, but also science and technology.

The two-day symposium which began today, saw the gathering of more than 600 captains of industry and representatives from the public sector, who will be updated on Iskandar Malaysia as well as government policies, alongside strategies for potential investors.