ISKANDAR PUTERI, Sept 4 — Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian today defended the mega-billion dollar Forest City project here today as a positive development to the state and national economy.
He said the state government has received RM600 million in land premium and other levies from Forest City developer, Country Garden Pacific View Sdn Bhd (CGPV).
“As the state government has shares in CGPV, it received RM30 million in dividends from the company, while the federal government received RM83 million in taxes, which includes RM13 million in corporate tax,” he said at a media briefing on issues related to Forest City at the Bangunan Datuk Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar.
Earlier, Osman said Forest City has also boosted the state’s economy by providing thousands of jobs for locals and fresh university graduates.
He said the developers have invested a total of RM11.5 billion in the project.
“Forest City has given out contracts worth RM1.4 billion to 150 local companies,” he said.
On the prime minister’s remarks that put Forest City in the spotlight last week, Osman insisted there was no misunderstanding between the state and federal governments on the matter.
“Perhaps, the federal ministers didn't get a clear picture on the project and prompted the Housing and Local Government Ministry to set up a committee to review the project,” he said.
However, Osman believed the federal government will be fair in this aspect and protect foreign investors.
Osman also did not comment on the proposed 30 per cent Malaysian quota for Forest City that was mooted by Johor housing and rural development committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad, which Malay Mail reported on Sunday.
Forest City, the most ambitious project in Johor’s Iskandar economic zone, is still at an early stage of development and reclamation work is currently ongoing.
Four artificial islands will be created from the waters of the Johor Straits, covering a total surface of 14 square kilometers and bringing Malaysia’s shoreline closer to Singapore.
More than 700,000 foreigners, who are the project’s residents, are expected by 2050.
Last week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his Pakatan Harapan government will not allow foreigners to buy residential units built at the Forest City project.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office clarified in a statement the next day that the purchase of properties did not guarantee automatic residency in Malaysia, which was echoed by the Johor government a few days later.
Following that, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said her ministry will set up a committee would review the project.
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