Iskandar – Mutual Beneficial project

Iskandar is a mutual beneficial project between Singapore and Malaysia to undertake a political and economic cooperation between the two nations. Singapore's EDB with its main mandate to attract investment into Singapore has recently refocus its effort to bring more multinationals to Iskandar Johor. Since six years ago when the Malaysia Investment Development Authority started the Iskandar Johor project, there are now more than 300 Singapore manufacturing companies that have started operation there.

The Iskandar project is moving in the right direction as the perception is that Iskandar is a cooperative initiative rather than a competitive one. On top of that, the growing bilateral ties and combined effort at ministerial level have bestowed confidence and sense of stability that businesses look for.

The warming ties came about after the conclusion of the agreement over the railway land between the 2 nations. Singapore's higher salary and land cost made Iskandar to be an ideal location for businesses that depend on low land and labour cost operation. With our government's policy to further tighten supply of foreign labour, these SMEs will need to relocate as a matter of business survival. They will also like the idea that they only need to relocate nearer to Singapore.

As for the MNCs, Singapore can still serve as the regional headquarters after they have relocated labour intensive production to Iskandar. This will help Singapore to retain the share of MNCs investment and presence here rather than moving all operations out of the island.

With Iskandar starting to meet its potential for the Singapore-Johor-Riau growth triangle, Batam, Bintang will now need to synergy into this growth area cooperation to benefits the 3 countries. Economic growth is best achieved through mutual cooperation among the neighbouring countries in a win-win manner for economic and political stability.

4 Jan 2013