Iskandar Malaysia area to be almost doubled in Johor

Iskandar Malaysia is one of the country’s five economic growth corridors.(Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Iskandar Malaysia in southern Johor will be extended to 4,749 square km from the current 2,217 square km to include parts of the Kota Tinggi, Kluang and Pontian districts.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda), in a statement today, said this was approved at Irda’s 24th Members of Authority (MoA) meeting, which was co-chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian, here yesterday.

Irda chief executive Ismail Ibrahim said with the larger area of coverage, Iskandar Malaysia should be able to offer more land for development at an affordable cost.

At the same time, it will bring modern agriculture as one of its new promoted sectors.

Irda is the regulatory authority mandated to plan, promote and facilitate the development of Iskandar Malaysia, one of the country’s five economic growth corridors.

Irda said Iskandar Malaysia was confident that the region’s inflow of investments from domestic and foreign investors would continue to grow from this year onward.

“This will enhance the whole ecosystem in Iskandar Malaysia as the spillover effects will have a higher impact on the region’s economy and the rakyat,” it said.

Irda said Iskandar Malaysia recorded committed investments of RM32.23 billion in 2018, of which RM22.03 billion represent investments that had been realised.

This contributed to the total cumulative committed investment of RM285.34 billion from 2006 to Dec 31, 2018, it said.

Local investors contributed about RM194.81 billion (62%) to the total cumulative committed investments, while the balance of RM90.51 billion (38%) was contributed by foreign investors, it said.

Irda said the top five countries with the highest cumulative committed investments in Iskandar Malaysia, from 2006 to December 2018, were China, Singapore, the United States, Japan and Spain.

From 2016 until 2018, the services sector, namely tourism, education, finance, healthcare, creative and logistics, recorded a total of RM28.9 billion, which included emerging technology, it said.

Irda said Iskandar Malaysia had created 740,000 jobs, of which 15% were skilled positions.

The statement said Iskandar Malaysia could offer youths jobs in the field of agriculture, especially with the approval of the region’s new extended land area.

“This should be allocated for the agriculture industry, not only for local consumption but also for export purposes,” it said.

Mahathir was quoted in the statement as saying that Iskandar Malaysia’s progress, charted steadily since 2006, had been truly spectacular and would be key in helping Malaysia to reclaim its “Asian Tiger” title.

Osman was quoted as saying that Iskandar Malaysia’s strong and stable growth would boost and complement Johor’s development, thus strengthening the state’s aspiration to become a high-performance state.