Thursday April 25, 2013

Iskandar a success story: Mobius

Mark Mobius Mark Mobius

SINGAPORE: Iskandar Malaysia is becoming a major success story for Malaysia, said Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, Franklin Templeton.

“It is a good example of diligent planning and foresight on the part of the Government. The area has now reached the take-off' point where developments would become self-generating and create a virtuous circle,” he told Bernama.

Singapore is the largest investor in Iskandar Malaysia.

Mobius, who was sharing his views on the election process, said the risks were minimal and as long as the close cooperation between Singapore and Malaysia continued, it would be a win-win situation for both countries.

Under the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore were now at an excellent stage.

This was proven during the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat in February, where both Najib and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reaffirmed their commitment to a stronger and mutually beneficial partnership.

Recognising that a dynamic and successful Iskandar Malaysia benefited both Malaysia and Singapore, the leaders agreed to intensify existing cooperation and explore new ways to leverage on the complementarities between Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia.

On the current bilateral ties, Yang Razali Kassim, a senior fellow of S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “I would say that Singapore-Malaysia ties are entering a new phase. It is clearly more warm and neighbourly, more constructive and productive.”

With Najib and Lee steering the ship of bilateral relations, both countries seem to be leaving behind the acrimonious ties of the past, especially those of the 1990s.

“We seem to be very serious about wanting to benefit from each other's strengths and from the synergies of close relations. Indeed, the word breakthrough' has been used by both leaders to describe the new phase that bilateral relations are in now. And, this breakthrough is concretely captured in several major achievements: the resolution of the long-standing KTM land issue in Singapore; the consequent creation of M+S Pte Ltd (a company owned 60:40 by Khazanah Holdings Bhd and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd) to take ties forward on the economic front, in creative new ways; and the announcement of a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia. Visions of KL and Singapore as twin cities' and as one virtual urban community' like London and Paris have now been conjured. These are major signposts of a new kind of relationship that we are talking about between Singapore and Malaysia now, and which we can expect in the years to come,” added Yang Razali.

When asked about Malaysians support for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, another analyst said: “Based on these facts, we can see not only the good track record of the ruling BN in establishing the strong ties between Kuala Lumpur and its closest neighbour, Singapore, but the economic prosperity that it would bring to the country and its people if continuity is preserved. I am not taking sides, but if we look at it rationally, do we want a government which we are unsure of its credibility and without a track record?” he asked.

The analyst said the upcoming general election was going to be one of the most important and critical, as Malaysians have to choose the right leaders. “They should also think wisely and select candidates who can best serve Malaysia for another five years,” he added. Bernama

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