Saturday December 5, 2009
Johor Premium Outlet to boost tourism, lure investors
By FARIK ZOLKEPLI
THE construction of a world-class premium factory outlet, better known as the Johor Premium Outlet, in Iskandar Malaysia will boost tourism and lure more investors into the state.
Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Harun Johari says the project, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in New York recently, would definitely attract tourists who are usually keen shoppers. They will help boost revenue, he says.
“The Johor Premium Outlet is a strategic and catalytic project in Iskandar Malaysia and for the overall state of Johor. It will create a new market segment in tourism such as a luxury shopping destination,” he says.
“There will also be substantial economic linkages to the local economy as well. We welcome such investments in Iskandar Malaysia as it will contribute to the gross domestic product,” he says.
The project will also boost job opportunities, and also help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expand the breath and variety of products and services they offer.
“The project will be a boon to local investors who want to participate in Iskandar Malaysia’s progress,” he says.
Meanwhile, South Johor SME Association president Teh Kee Sin says that the Johor Premium Outlet could provide an additional avenue for SMEs traders to do business in Iskandar Malaysia.
“However, we are concern over how they are going to rope in SMEs,” he says. He hopes the Government is serious about roping in SMEs in the premium factory outlet as well as other projects in Iskandar Malaysia.
“We feel certain tax incentives offered to foreign companies should be also offered to SMEs as well,” he says, adding that local SME traders should be given priority.
Teh says SMEs hoped the economic corridor will be a success. “SMEs will be a great asset to Iskandar Malaysia,” he says.
Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce president Loh Lian Hang feels the project is a winner for retailers, suppliers, consumers, and the local authorities. It is a much needed boost for the current challenging times, he says.
“It will also increase investment in Johor, especially in Iskandar Malaysia,” he says.
The project is a joint venture between Chelsea Premium Outlets and Genting Group and is being development as part of the Iskandar Malaysia project.
Najib, who spoke about the project while he was in New York, had a discussion with representatives from the Chelsea Property Group.
He says the project was on track, with construction expected to take off early next year and scheduled for completion by mid-2011.
Chelsea Premium Outlets is owned by Chelsea Property Group, which is the world’s largest owner, developer and operator of upscale outlet centres in the United States, Japan and South Korea.