Friday, October 19, 2007

Abdul Ghani Confident More Investments Will Pour Into IDR

Abdul Ghani Confident More Investments Will Pour Into IDR
Taken from Bernama

18 Oct 07

Story By : Mohd Haikal Mohd Isa

JOHOR BAHARU, Oct 17 (Bernama) -- After successfully attracting investments of RM4.1 billion from four companies from the Gulf States in August, efforts are being continued by the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) to attract more investors into the area.

Menteri Besar Johor Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the investment move by the four companies was proof of Iskandar Development Region's attraction as a major investment destination for multinational companies.

Abdul Ghani, who is co-chairman of the IDRA, the body entrusted with the development of the region, also expressed confidence that several ongoing negotiations with foreign investors will bring about more investors to the region.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is the chairman of the IDRA.

"Negotiations are being carried out with several parties from Europe, US and Middle East on the possible investments in IDR. We would have to wait until end of this year or early next year for the conclusions.

"We are upbeat about the negotiations judging from the interest shown," Abdul Ghani nevertheless told Bernama in a recent interview.

On the investment amount being negotiated, he said it was significant and would complete the initial investment for IDR.

In August this year, Mubadala, Millennium International Company, a subsidiary company of Saraya Holdings, and Kuwait Finance House (KFH), all companies from the Gulf States signed an agreement with the coordinator of IDR, South Johor Investment Corporation Bhd (SJIC) to invest in the special economic development zone.

Another company from the Gulf States, Aldar Properties PJSC, will meanwhile manage the development of the IDR's first intergrated international city to be known as Node I.

Node 1 will encompass an area covering more than 892 hectares in Nusajaya.

Mubadala, KFH and Millennium, each representing their respective consortiums, have collectively invested more than US$1.2 billion on land and infrastructure for three development clusters covering a financial centre, lifestyle and entertainment zone and cultural zone in Node I.

The total of RM4.1 billion investment from the four Gulf State companies is the biggest single investment received by the IDR since it was launched in November last year. Of the invested amount, part would go for the development of infrastructure and another part to land acquisitions.

On September 24, MMC Corporation Bhd (MMC) meanwhile announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai World to explore the possibility of jointly developing the maritime centre.

The estimated cost for the project is RM16 bilion, which will include the petroleum zone and maritime industrial zone expected to cost RM9 billion while investments in the logistics, dry wharfs, and relevant real estate development will cost RM7 billion.

Abdul Ghani said among the incentives and support accorded to the areas to be developed include flexibility in tax for 10 years, flexibility in the conditions for equity ownership and foreign skilled workers.

He said all development plans under the investment are expected to be implemented in the next five years.

"We expect to see a diversity of investments in the various services sectors including hotels, restaurants, financial or logistics.

On Mubadala's investment in the IDR, Abdul Ghani said the company had wide experience in development projects in West Asia and Europe with its investment in the IDR being its only investment in South East Asia.

Mubadala, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government, is involvd in various development projects in Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates (UAE).

When visiting Johor earlier this month, Deputy Prime MInister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the chief of Mubadala had informed him that the company had already selected an architect and chief planner to start off its project in the IDR.

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