Malaysian tycoons in talks to invest in Iskandar region

By BUSINESS TIMES

A GROUP of local tycoons are in talks with Khazanah Nasional Bhd to develop a large piece of land in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), a special economic zone in Johor.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) president, Tan Sri Williem Cheng, said a consortium has been formed to negotiate the development plan for a proposed project.

According to Cheng, Khazanah will allocate some 405 to 810 hectares of landbank to the consortium.

The group will then decide on the project, which may comprise service apartments and houses, shopping centres, hospitals, universities, schools, and a logistics hub.

“It will take six months to finalise the development plan and we expect the project to kick off early next year,” Cheng told reporters after attending the Golden Bull Award 2007 ceremony in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

The IDR, an area almost three times the size of Singapore, is being promoted as a special economic zone in south Johor, and set to attract billions of ringgit in fresh investments.

Cheng said a group of investors from the Middle East and a consortium from Europe had been recently invited by the Government to invest in the IDR.

“Khazanah has allocated up to 810 hectares of landbank to each group to develop a project. They are currently negotiating the development plan,” Cheng said.

He said the two groups are planning to build properties in the education, medical and logistics centre of the IDR and are expected to commence work early next year.

Cheng said the local consortium could buy the land from the State Government, or it may buy it from the private sector or the IDR’s main developer.

The ACCCIM is also encouraging investors from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Singapore to participate in the development of the IDR.

Cheng said several groups of investors have expressed interest and may likely form a consortium soon to start negotiations with Khazanah.

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