Three new nodes for Iskandar will further boost development of region

JOHOR BARU- The Federal Government has agreed to the creation of three more new nodes in Iskandar Malaysia - which now has only one - Medini in Nusajaya.

Sources told StarBiz, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has approved the creation of the additional nodes, which are expected to be announced this year.

The three nodes are likely to be located in the Eastern Gate Development Zone, the Western Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai growth corridor.

The proposal was submitted by the Johor government and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda).

The case was presented at a meeting held at Putrajaya in the fourth-quarter of 2013, chaired by Najib who is also Irda co-chairman with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

The sources added that prior to the meeting, Johor officials and representatives from Irda had a "tough time" convincing the Government to agree to the proposal which was submitted before the meeting took place.

"Najib was happy with the progress and development taking place in Iskandar Malaysia since its inception in 2006, and agreed to the proposal," said the sources.

The sources said Najib was satisfied with Iskandar Malaysia despite it operating in the competitive economic environment due to uncertainties in the global economic growth.

The sources said the new nodes would further accelerate and spearhead Iskandar Malaysia into the next level to become an international metropolis by 2025 as outlined under its Comprehensive Development Plan from 2006 to 2025.

"The nodes will cater for different economic activities and Irda is contemplating oil and gas, education, tourism, health and aviation," said the sources.

Irda is also looking at the possibility of setting up the halal park in one of the proposed nodes with companies involved in downstream and upstream halal-related activities.

A node refers to an area dedicated to certain activities or development with those having projects there enjoying certain privileges and benefits.

Covering 929.20ha, Medini was created in 2007 to cater for property development projectswhich enjoyed, among others, no restriction to foreign ownership.

Medini is sub-divided into three development clusters - the financial district, Medini Central and lifestyle and leisure with each developed by different developers.

Launched on Nov 4, 2006, Iskandar Malaysia covers 2,217 sq km and is located in the southern Johor. It is three times bigger than Singapore and two times the size of Hong Kong. As of Oct 31, 2013, the country's first economic growth corridor has attracted about RM129.42bil in committed investments since 2006, and targets to achieve RM383bil of investments by 2025.