JOHOR BARU, August 14 — Iskandar Malaysia has recorded RM208 billion in committed investments from 2006 until June 30 this year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Najib, who is also the Co-Chairman of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), said of the total, 51% or RM106.43 billion represented investments that have been realised.
“(Of the total committed investments) Local investors contributed RM124 billion while 40% (RM84.05 billion) came from foreign countries, which showed confidence of our neighbour and other countries in the world,” he said in a speech at the launch of Iskandar Malaysia Greenland Smart City Experiential Centre (SMARTXP), Helios Cove in Permas Jaya today.
Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, IRDA Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim and Greenland Group Chairman/President, Zhang Yuliang.
Najib said the huge investments reflected the country’s strong economic fundamentals especially with the government strengthening the economy by removing subsidies on petroleum and gas, implementing the Good and Services Tax (GST) and diversifying the economy.
Despite receiving a lot of criticism and being exploited by some quarters including former leaders, the GST has become Malaysia’s saviour following a sharp drop in oil and gas prices, said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.
“They knew it was the right thing to do but they claimed that it was not,” he said, adding that the government has been able to withstand the global headwinds and remains on track in achieving its vision to become a high-income nation.
On Iskandar Malaysia, Najib said between 2007 and 2015, it created a total of 682,169 jobs in various sectors mostly in manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, as well as education.
Meanwhile on the smart city, the prime minister said there was a need to develop the smart city concept in the future as 90% of the country’s population would be living in the cities by 2020.
Citing research studies, Najib said of the nearly 32 million people in Malaysia, 74.5% were currently staying in the cities and urban areas.
“This number is expected to increase to 90% by 2020. In other words, there are 21 people, either migrating to the cities or being born, every hour and this translates into 504 people a day and 183,960 people in a year.
“So, the demand for smart city infrastructure will be tremendous and vital,” he said adding that he was pleased to see Iskandar Malaysia has come out with the SMARTXP concept.
The SMARTXP, which is open to the public from today, allows visitors to experience smart city living with the latest technology including virtual reality experiences as well as interactive game