The slow-paced period faced by Iskandar Malaysia today does not pose as a concern considering the momentum the region has been picking up during the last eight years.
While the property sector may be witnessing a slowdown, other sectors within the region are moving at a constant momentum.
“Over the past nine years, Iskandar Malaysia has been growing with consistency and quality, I think that is foremost in our mind,” Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, chief executive of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), told Bernama in a recent interview.
“This consistency and quality shows that Iskandar Malaysia continues to be competitive as we are able to present it in terms of the many elements that make this region attractive for investment, for work as well as for living.”
On the challenges in developing the economic region, Ismail noted that balancing development and maintaining sustainability and the green agenda proved to be arduous for IRDA.
“During the early days, the challenge was mainly to win the hearts and minds of the people and the business community, to convince them that Iskandar Malaysia was ‘the thing’ for them, but we have already passed that phase of challenge,” he said.
“The challenge today is really about how to convince people on what more is coming for them in Iskandar Malaysia (and) what more the government is going to build, in terms of the ecosystem that makes Iskandar Malaysia more competitive.”
Already, some economic sectors are moving in their own momentum while others lag behind.
“The ones that have been experiencing growth consistently are tourism, education and healthcare. We have now almost completely covered the second phase of Iskandar Malaysia’s roadmap,” said Ismail.
“Now we are beginning to see perhaps three more sectors — creative, logistics and oil and oleochemicals — coming to play in the next one to two years.”
The three other sectors completing the nine under the region’s masterplan – financial services, electrical and electronics as well as food and agro processing – will probably take off a bit later, he added.
For this year, he revealed that Iskandar Malaysia targets RM30 billion worth of new investments, of which RM5 billion will come from logistics while another huge part will come from manufacturing sector.