EDB wants MNCs to invest in Johor's Iskandar region

EDB wants MNCs to invest in Johor's Iskandar region
Above photo is Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

The Economic Development Board (EDB), long synonymous with bringing foreign investments into Singapore, is telling multinational corporations (MNCs) to go north of the border.

They are being encouraged actively to invest in Johor's Iskandar region.

The EDB is adopting this new approach to Iskandar, as land and labour costs rise in Singapore, and interest in the region grows.

It envisions Singapore playing a complementary role, its chairman Leo Yip said in an interview with The Straits Times this week.

He sees companies siting their higher-value and more skilled operations as well as headquarters in Singapore, while their factories operate in the neighbouring countries, where land and labour are relatively abundant.

The strategy is similar to its partnership with the Indonesian islands of Batam, Bintan and Karimun (BBK).

Mr Yip said the new tack is necessary for Singapore to get a slice of the business as more MNCs look at moving their production to South-east Asia, with its market of 600 million people, good growth and more stable business environment.

"Some MNCs are looking quite seriously at how this might work to their advantage. And we are actively encouraging, and in fact pointing, many of the MNCs in that direction," Mr Yip said.

The EDB is now in preliminary discussions with companies to facilitate "the twinning of manufacturing activities between Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia".

Companies that have shown interest include those in the transport engineering, electronics, precision engineering and energy and chemicals sectors.

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