Ismail keen to attract more MNCs from China to Iskandar

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) will continue to promote the country’s first economic growth corridor to investors in China.

It has taken several steps to attract more multinational corporations (MNCs) from China to relocate their operations to Iskandar Malaysia, Irda chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said.

“The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative by China is a good platform where we can further engage with the MNCs there to invest in Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ he said.

Irda was also identifying industries affected by the on-going trade war between China and the United States and commencing on targeted promotion initiatives, he added.

“This (the trade war) will likely benefit Iskandar Malaysia as companies in China will be relocating to other places to do their business to avoid the hefty tariffs.

“China has the highest cumulative committed investments of RM41.06bil from RM108bil foreign investments in Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ Ismail said.

This is followed by Singapore with RM20.52bil, the US (RM7.52bil), Japan (RM5.12bil), Spain (RM4.18bil), South Korea (RM3.68bil), Netherlands (RM3.15bil), Australia (RM2.81bil), Germany with RM2.42bil and India with RM2.37bil.

From a different perspective, Irda would also focus on leveraging surrounding nations especially Asean countries, unique economic characteristics as a new investment strategy i.e. being the Asean industrial hub, Ismail said.

He also cited that Johor Baru’s proximity with Singapore is an added advantage in attracting MNCs not only from China but from all over the world to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.

By investing here, they have Singapore as an international trade and financial centre and enjoy competitive cost in Malaysia, ’’ he added.

Irda did not specifically segregate investor-centric strategies into foreign and domestic to avoid being dependent on just a select few.

The manufacturing sector was still relevant to Iskandar Malaysia, but it has to move up the value chain.

Manufacturers involved in in labour-intensive activities should look at other countries which have a large pool of workers and Malaysia’s manufacturing sector could no longer remain labour-intensive, Ismail said.  “The most important thing is to ensure that Iskandar Malaysia remain attractive as an investment destination regardless of what the global economic situation is, ’’ said Ismail.

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