Iskandar M'sia to draw more S'pore investments

Johor Baru (The Star/ANN) - The presence of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd executive director and chief executive officer Ho Ching at a tea party at the Muar Stadium last November has created a buzz in the Johor corporate world.

Ho, the wife of Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong, was there as the guest of Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in conjunction with his birthday celebration and was seen sharing the main stage with members of the Johor royalty.

Many corporate leaders and local politicians saw Ho's presence as a sign that state-owned Temasek and more Singaporean investors were seriously considering making more investments in Iskandar Malaysia.

A source told StarBiz that Temasek had last year acquired a 30 per cent stake for 300 million ringgit (US$96 million) in Central Malaysian Properties Sdn Bhd (CMP), which is developing Lido Boulevard.

The source said Temasek planned to increase its stake in CMP, which would lead to a corporate restructuring, including changing the company's name.

"Work on the project has been temporarily halted and will resume after the completion of the restructuring exercise,'' the source said.

The integrated waterfront development project, with a gross development value (GDV) of 4 billion ringgit, is sited opposite the Grand Palace here.

Meanwhile, a senior official from a property-based company said that six years on, more Singaporean investors had started to realise the growth potential of Iskandar.

"Initially they were rather sceptical but after seeing the development taking place (in Iskandar) in just six years, they don't want to miss the boat,'' he said.

He said the improvement in the bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore had also prompted many Singaporean investors to look at Iskandar

He said the involvement of Singapore billionaire Peter Lim in the 3.5 billion ringgit Motorsports City project in Gerbang Nusajaya could attract more "Peter Lims" to Iskandar.

The 70:30 joint venture between FASTrack Autosports and UEM Land Holdings Bhd will see both parties establishing the Motorsports City master plan, as well as development and marketing strategies.

Tomorrow, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Singapore Premier Lee will attend the ground-breaking of wellness development in Medini, Iskandar.

Pulai Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd (PIV), a joint venture between Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek, is developing the "Urban Wellness" project on a 2.02ha site in Medini North and the 84.98ha "Resort Wellness" development in Medini Central.

The GDV of the project is estimated at 5.2 billion ringgit, which includes the development of a wellness centre, serviced residences, a corporate training centre and commercial, retail, residential and wellness-related offerings.

At the event, Najib and Lee are also expected to announce the decision on the Malaysia-Singapore Rapid Transit link project.

*US$1=3.0 ringgit

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