Mega projects to boost Malaysia's economy to $640 billion

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

JOHOR BARU - Malaysia's mega infrastructure projects are expected to boost the country's economy by more than 50 per cent to RM2 trillion (S$640 billion) in the next seven to eight years.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he was hoping to make Malaysia one of the top 20 countries in the world.

"Presently, our economy is about RM1.3 trillion. I am confident that we can achieve this, especially with all our present projects," he said.

The projects include the High Speed Rail, the Pan Borneo Highway, East Coast Rail Link, Bandar Malaysia and Vision Valley.

"In Johor itself, we have Iskandar Malaysia and the Pengerang oil and gas projects," he said at the launch of Iskandar Malaysia's 10-year anniversary here yesterday.

Later, asked on the details as to how he planned to make Malaysia to be among the top 20, he said there were certain criteria which would be announced later.

Najib also commended Iskandar Malaysia for helping to propel the state into a southern economic powerhouse, adding that the growth corridor had so far brought in investments totalling RM221 billion and helped to create some 700,000 jobs.

During the event, he also announced special incentives for global business services (GBS), which would be one of the promoted sectors in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia.

"I hope this tax benefit will help make Iskandar Puteri into a hub for GBS," he said, adding that this move was expected to attract some RM6.5bil in investments and create 14,000 jobs.

Under the incentives, eligible companies can apply for special Medini tax support packages and employees, a personal income tax rate of 15 per cent.

Other plans being carried out in Iskandar Malaysia include RM50mil for a Bus Rapid Transit (first phase), RM280mil for a Sg Segget river upgrading project and other infrastructure development.

Asked about the High Speed Rail, Najib said everything was well and good, adding that it was expected to be signed next week.

"Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has contacted me asking for more time as they needed the consent of their president who is away," he said, calling this a technical matter.