Published: Sunday September 16, 2012 MYT 12:25:00 PM
Updated: Sunday September 16, 2012 MYT 5:44:37 PM
Iskandar Malaysiaís development is for the future of the young, says Shahrir
JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia, an economic development project promoted by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, will give the young in Johor a better future, says Johor Baru Member of Parliament Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.
He said Iskandar Malaysia was "not about real estate nor higher prices of property. It's about creating a future for the young".
"Projects that have been implemented in Iskandar Malaysia will enable the 'new generation' in building their working life and professional achievements in their home state.
"If business activities and development are 'Kuala Lumpur-centric' with the aim of building a metropolis in the Klang Valley, youths will continue leaving their hometowns and villages from various parts of Malaysia to seek greener pastures in the federal capital.
"Without the development of economic corridors, many towns and cities may lose their importance as Kuala Lumpur will be absorbing all the young talents, the resources and interest of other states," he said in a recent interview in conjunction with Malaysia Day.
Shahrir said the Johor populace had started to take ownership of some of the Iskandar Malaysia projects as could be seen by their enthusiasm in landmarks such as Legoland Malaysia, Cruyff Court Iskandar and Johor Premium Outlet.
"In a short space of six years, Iskandar Malaysia has changed JB and its surroundings with the potential it could offer to youths through Legoland Malaysia, Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Newcastle University Medicine campus, University of Southampton campus as well as hospitals.
"I'm pleased to see more interaction between the Johor and federal governments, and the private sector. With Khazanah as the prime mover for Iskandar Malaysia, such interactions will bring together ideas and culture that will see further progress to the region," the seasoned lawmaker said.
According to Shahrir, children and students should be exposed to the achievements of Iskandar Malaysia in order for them to build affinity with the landmarks in the development corridor in the southern part of the peninsula, adding that Johoreans must realise that "Iskandar Malaysia does not merely serve as a foreign tourist destination".
"We are not building properties in Iskandar Malaysia for Singaporeans. Iskandar Malaysia and its attributes are for the people. We build for the rakyat," he explained.
Launched in November 2006 with an area of 2,217 kilometres, Iskandar Malaysia was identified as one of the key catalysts and high-impact developments under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and Tenth Malaysia Plan.
The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is the federal statutory body entrusted to regulate and drive development of the region.
Shahrir said there was huge potential for Iskandar Malaysia to transform the socio-economy of Johor, noting that Iskandar Malaysia had infrastructure development in place and was flanked by three major ports and an international airport in Senai.
In line with a balanced development approach, an economic corridor like Iskandar Malaysia will enable positive socio-economic spillover.
Iskandar Malaysia received cumulative committed investments from domestic and foreign investors totalling RM95.45bil from 2006 to June 2012, of which 43 percent is already realised. It is targeting to hit the RM100bil investment commitment mark by year-end.
Boosted by its competitive edge, Iskandar Malaysia was ranked the fourth best Global Free Zone of the Future 2012/2013 by fDi Magazine of Financial Times Ltd. - Bernama