Reported in Bernama, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is in final talks with at least three theme park operators. Announcements could be as early as end of 2015. It’s chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said these projects would be part of the RM30 billion targeted investments for 2015. According to him, Iskandar Malaysia has achieved 48% of the target set for 2015 and is on target to hit the targeted RM30 billion in committed investments by end of the year. He did not name the theme parks but said that they are from the countries well known for their international theme parks including Japan, North America, Europe and Australia. It may include both indoor and outdoor theme parks.
Besides these theme parks, IRDA was also looking to have more hotel operators of five- to six-star hotels and opening more meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) in Iskandar. When asked about the effects from a falling ringgit versus the Singapore dollar, he replied, “Although we have nine economic sectors, we are not dependent on one or two. So overall, while perhaps we maybe affected by oil and gas, which is one of the sectors that we are promoting, but on average there will be other sectors that would definitely push the average up, returning at the rate of 7-8%. After all, at the end of the day, it is all making the region more competitive.”
The last sentence is very important, not just for Iskandar but also for the mighty neighbour, Singapore. Mighty as in the currency. There are already the potential for Singapore to go into a technical recession if their growth for Q3 2015 is also negative. Their Q2 growth is already negative and one major reason stated was because of their manufacturing sector. To be very honest and direct, there is no way Singaporean manufacturers can compete with the world by operating in Singapore using SGD and paying for fixed assets in SGD. Maintain the strategy and planning in Singapore but start to use what Iskandar has to offer. This is where both sides would benefit. Iskandar’s growth is limited without Singapore but on a longer term basis, these Singaporean companies may need to make the right decision and manage their costs more effectively. Of course, if they believe Batam is better, sure do go ahead but staying put in Singapore is definitely not an option anymore.
written on 30 Sept 2015
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