Singaporeans like landed properties in Iskandar, say developers

Landed properties and well-planned business parks in Iskandar Malaysia proved popular among Singaporeans looking to set up businesses in Johor, reported The Star.

“They are looking for business parks that are near the highways and townships because setting up shop here is only about one-third of the cost of operating in Singapore,” said Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) branch chairman Hoe Mee Ling following the official launch of the second edition of this year’s Malaysia Property Expo (Mapex).

Notably, geographical location, growing workforce, continuing investments and improvement of infrastructure helped to boost demand for said properties.

“Property sales depend largely on the external factors like quality, concept and good after-sales service,” she said.

“Customers take these things into account before considering their investment decisions.”

Another factor that helped boost demand was the presence of job opportunities in Iskandar Malaysia, said Hoe.

Despite the overall slow economy, she revealed that they observed a “positive property sales trend as the fundamental demand for properties is still there.”

While the present political and economic climate may have some short-term effect on Iskandar Malaysia’s progress, this will be mitigated by the various inherent advantages of the economic region.

In fact, Johor Baru, particularly Iskandar Malaysia, did not witness a gaping decline in property sales trend, she said.

Held at the City Square shopping mall, the three-day expo saw a total of 35 developers and exhibitors offer 19,000 properties with a total value of RM18.6 billion situated in and around Iskandar Malaysia.


Slowdown in Iskandar Malaysia not a concern

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.

Malaysia is one of the ‘seven emerging markets worth putting your money in’

Malaysia is one of the ‘seven emerging markets worth putting your money in’, reported a popular business publication, Fortune Magazine.

“In Malaysia, the incumbent (Barisan Nasional) government is trying to stay ahead of increased demand for change,” penned Ian Bremmer.

Bremmer wrote Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak scrapped fuel subsidies and will enact a six per cent Goods and Services Tax in April to improve his government’s fiscal position.

He believed that Najib will likely accelerate his Economic Transformation Programme by introducing further tax incentives for foreign investors.

“Further liberalisation of the manufacturing and financial services sectors is likely as well.

“It is a fair bet that as growth tapers in China (and the impact of that slowdown is felt in Malaysia), Najib’s government will feel pressured to boost public spending on infrastructure, education and health care.

“That is a good thing, particularly if authorities, as expected, continue to advance a broad fiscal reform agenda, with support from the middle class, to balance the nation’s budget by 2020,” he wrote.

The other emerging markets that Fortune Magazine described as the ‘lucky seven’ are India, Indonesia, Mexico, Columbia, Poland and Kenya.

The full story is published in the February 2015 issue of Fortune.


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