SINGAPORE: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he will make an announcement on collaboration with Singapore on the Iskandar Malaysia development project during a bilateral meeting next month.
Prime Minister Najib and his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, are scheduled to have their next retreat meeting in Kuala Lumpur and Channel NewsAsia understands from Malaysian sources that 5th January is a possible date for the meeting.
Mr Najib gave Johor’s tourism industry a booster on Sunday, announcing that the newly-completed Johor Premium Outlets will expand with an additional investment of 100 million Malaysian ringgit.
He was speaking at the official launch of Johor Premium Outlets, an upscale outlet shopping centre located about half an hour’s drive from Singapore’s Tuas Checkpoint.
Mr Najib described the shopping complex as a key development in the Iskandar Malaysia region – an economic development zone in the southern corridor.
“I have no doubt Johor Premium Outlets will play an important role in helping to draw more domestic and foreign investors to this region and I am confident we will see (not only) an influx of local consumers but also international visitors from across Southeast Asia and the Middle East,” said Mr Najib.
“I am sure many of our international tourists will take advantage of the favourable exchange rate and discover that it is more economical for them to buy their goods and do their shopping here,” he added.
Johor Premium Outlets is a joint venture between the Malaysian Genting Group and the Simon Property Group of the United States.
The S$60m (150-million-Malaysian-ringgit) investment offers shoppers a spread of 80 designer brand outlets.
Mr Najib said the project is a leading one under Malaysia’s economic transformation programme.
Occupying 44 acres of land, the outlet is situated in the middle of an oil palm plantation.
And it being just half an hour’s drive from Singapore’s Tuas Checkpoint, Mr Najib notes there is already enormous interest from both Singaporeans and regional shoppers.
The outlet hopes to draw close to three million visitors in its first year of operations.
And there are already plans for expansion.
Mr Najib said: “I am in a position to announce that they will embark on the second phase of the Johor Premium Outlets with an additional investment of 100 million ringgit, adding 60 new shops, making it a 130 altogether in a very short period of time.”
Also in the piepline is a water park, developing the conventions and exhibitions sector in the area and a hotel with nearly 2,000 rooms.
Chairman and chief executive of Genting Berhad, Lim Kok Thay, said: “I am very happy that our project has stimulated economic activities in this region, providing over 3,000 new job opportunities and many more indirect jobs in Johor and neighbouring states.
“More importantly, it will help to retain and develop our local talent. Johor Premium Outlets will leverage on the global strength and brand value of the premium outlets portfolio of the Simon Property Group and the brand name and marketing resources of Genting.
“It will synergise with the Genting property leisure and hospitality operations of Malaysia and worldwide.”
For the Malaysian government, the Johor Premium Outlets project is an important one, especially with its close proximity to Iskandar Malaysia.
Mr Najib said investments in Iskandar Malaysia continue to grow year by year and he expects more investments to come in from countries like China, Japan, South Korea and also the Middle Eastern countries.
As of September this year, investment commitments by various countries in Iskandar Malaysia are worth nearly S$32 billion.
Source : Channel News Asia