JOHOR BARU - Iskandar Malaysia is exceeding expectations as a dynamic growth corridor by attracting huge investments in various sectors.
The latest include seven projects involving investments totalling about RM46 billion (S$18 billion).
Among them are the creation of a motorsports city, nanotechnology-based industries, mixed development areas, development of prime water front property, a trade and exhibition centre, communications and ICT infrastructure and a global innovation centre.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak witnessed the signing of the deals during the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) at the Persada Convention Centre and the Danga Bay Convention Centre yesterday.
The rising interest in Iskandar, launched in 2006, is expected to thrust the corridor's growth beyond the RM100 billion mark for investments by the end of the year.
When asked about the total achieved so far, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said: "The figures look very encouraging and I will be make a special announcement on Dec 11."
He said many of the WIEF delegates were impressed with what they saw and were excited when taken on a helicopter tour of the area.
"Iskandar is creating a lot of interest and excitement. This can be seen through the new trends, including the fact that many Singaporeans are now opting to stay here and travel to Singapore for work.
"There are also Singaporean students who travel here daily to attend Malborough College. This has never happened before," he said after the forum.
He said the attractions within Iskandar including Legoland Malaysia and Johor Premium Outlets contribute to its image as a vibrant and exciting region.
After witnessing the signing of the sales and purchase agreement for the 22ha waterfront land in Danga Bay between China's Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd and Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, Najib said due credit should be given to the Barisan Nasional Government for its vision in launching Iskandar Malaysia.
He said the RM1 billion land purchase by Country Garden, the biggest investment by any investor from China from one of Forbes list of 50 top companies in Asia, reflected deep confidence in the dynamism of Malaysia and Johor.
He said investors also noted that Johor was much bigger than Iskandar, citing the Pengerang Oil and Gas developments, the Desaru mega tourism and resort projects.
According to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, the corridor had received RM99.79bil cumulative committed investments in various sectors, with RM42 billion or 43 per cent realised as of September this year.
Of the total, 63 per cent were from domestic investors.
Iskandar Malaysia is located in south Johor covering 2,217 sq km three times bigger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong.