Do you know what is SIJORI? I do not, until I read an article written by Sharon Chen of Bloomberg. SIJORI meant Singapore + Johor + Riau. In one sentence, she said that for Singapore to continue to grow, it will need to rely on both Johor (Iskandar) and Riau (Indonesia). These two places will help Singapore to maintain it’s role as a global city. One example given was of a Malaysian who was working in Singapore and stays in Johor and said that he does not mind to leave his house at 6:45am to be at his office on time. He stays in a much bigger two storey house instead of the usual HDB flat.
Today, the only reason why Malaysians who work in Singapore is not staying in Johor is because of time. Yes, it is just time because all the other reasons like crime, cleanliness, exchange rate are all secondary. Think objectively, even if you earn S$5,000 in Singapore, you are still not going to lead an amazing life. You better save your money so that you can live a very good life in Iskandar. Instead of renting the smallest room in a HDB flat for S$700, you can be paying installment for a good condo easily and have a higher end Segment C car here in Malaysia which you can drive every weekend, perhaps on and off into Singapore and show off to your Singaporean friends.
However, if the time portion can be solved. For example, instead of 1.5 to 2 hours, what about just 30 minutes even during office hours. That is much lesser time that one end MRT to the other end in Singapore. As soon as this happens, that’s what I call huge demand for properties in Iskandar. Without that, I think it will be tough. How much more demand you may ask. The median income in Singapore is just S$3,250 per person in 2013. This solution of reducing the time needed solves two huge issues. Firstly would be to ensure the property prices in Singapore do not continue to increase and make it almost impossible for majority of anyone to buy a place. Secondly, it ensures Singapore continues to grow and yet the cost efficiency continue to rise instead of decreasing due to too much demand versus supply. Ok, third one would be to ensure Iskandar which has received so much attention and funds succeeds.
written on 6 June 2014
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