Monday October 22, 2012
Opportunities aplenty for Gulf Cooperation Council investors in Iskandar Malaysia
By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
PETALING JAYA: There are plenty of business opportunities in Iskandar Malaysia for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations looking to invest in the country.
“There are a lot of investment opportunities for GCC countries in Iskandar Malaysia, especially within the oil and gas (O&G) sector,” said Iskandar economic intelligence head Engku Ahmad Kamel Engku Taib during the GCC-Malaysia Trade Investment Forum 2012.
He said a sign of the growth corridor's huge potential was Petroliam Nasional Bhd's (Petronas) spearheading of a huge O&G project in Pengerang, Johor.
“Petronas is spearheading a project in Pengerang and a lot of services will be coming in to complement the area,” said Engku Ahmad.
To recap, Petronas would be investing RM60bil in an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, known as Rapid, expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016.
Iskandar covers 221,634 ha of land area within the southern-most part of Johor. The development region encompasses an area of about three times the size of Singapore and twice the size of Hong Kong.
“Over the next five years, there is expected to be over 40,000 workers coming to Pengerang. There will be a lot of refineries, storage terminals and downstream petrochemical activities there,” said Engku Ahmad.
He also noted that other sectors within Iskandar were set to boom.
“There is also a lot of opportunities in the healthcare sector and Iskandar's proximity to Singapore will drive this. There is not much land to expand in Singapore and healthcare is also expensive there. So there will be a lot of spillover into Iskandar.”
Engku Ahmad also said there were opportunities within the education and tourism industries in Iskandar.
“Legoland just opened its doors in Johor,” he said, adding that education facilities such as Newcastle University and Marlborough College were also there.
According to reports, projects slated for next year include the Puteri Harbour Phase 2 and 3, Indoor Theme Park, Traders Hotel, campuses for the University of Southampton and University of Reading, as well as Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios.
“With the completion of Pinewood Studios by mid 2013, there will also be good prospects for the creative industry in Johor,” said Engku Ahmad.
Reports said that from 2006 until end-June 2012, Iskandar had recorded total cumulative committed investments of MR95.45bil in various sectors, with 43% of the investments already realised.