Malaysia is a classic success story of how a backwater nation - dependent on agriculture and primary commodities - evolved into a manufacturing-based, export-driven economy in a period of less than 30 years after its Independence in 1957; spurred on by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries.
Given Malaysia's diverse economic structure and sound domestic fundamentals, the Government remains confident of achieving a healthy growth rate in 2008. The country continues to enjoy healthy surplus in external trade, low unemployment as well as strong international reserves and high national savings. In fact, the country continues to draw foreign investors, with its supportive government policies and a Liberal Equity Policy; where effective from June 2003, 100% foreign equity holding is allowed for all investments in new projects. Other strong motivators include the employment of expatriates, attractive tax incentives, an educated and well-skilled workforce, harmonious industrial relations, as well as developed infrastructure and industrial parks - making Malaysia truly inviting and open to foreign investor
Catalysing Growth in the Gateway to the South of Peninsula Malaysia
The Iskandar Development Region (IDR) is set to become Malaysia's most sustainable and developed region of international standards. Located in Johor, the southernmost state of Peninsular Malaysia, the IDR is ideally located in the flight path of Asia's mushrooming growth centres such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and the Indian sub-continent.
Taking into account the strategic importance of southern Johor, the Federal Government supports this rapidly growing state in respect of planning, implementation, coordination, control, management, finance and promotion to ensure the success of the IDR.
The development of the IDR responds to the challenges on the movement of capital and skilled workforce, development of ICT and flow of information with the realisation that economic prosperity in modern times depends on being globally competitive. As such, the IDR is envisaged to be an "international city" to decrease trade barriers and increase human mobility and international financing, which greatly influence the activities of giant international corporations.
In this context, Johor's closest international neighbours are Singapore and Indonesia. The development within these countries will inevitably impact upon the development of IDR. In particular, IDR is eyeing an influx of a strategic transfer in labour and land-intensive as well as lower value-added industries - as well as the vast labour resources that Indonesia is able to provide, to catalyse its growth.
Obviously, an influx of foreign residents with high skills and income would lead to world-class standards in social, educational, health and recreational facilities, as well as other amenities. And these are pre-requisites to attract and retain the inflow of international investments and highly skilled managerial and professional workforce. To begin with, foreign skilled workers in IDR are offered the option of importing or purchasing a duty-free car for their personal use. These incentives are similar to those offered under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme.
What IDR aims to do, is attain a well developed, internationally and internally integrated, strong and efficient logistic system. Such a system, in turn, will give it a high level of national and international accessibility, not to mention internal mobility as well.
In a nutshell, economists, both local and foreign, expect the region to experience a boom in capital appreciation and rapid population growth. Translated into real estate speak, property prices in Malaysia's Southern Corridor are on the uptrend; in tandem with the growth and catalyst that is the IDR.
"Thanks to its strategic geographical location, the IDR is the place to do business within the Johor-Singapore-Indonesia (JSI) Triangle. It offers state-of-the-art infrastructure and a world-class business environment.