PUTRAJAYA: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Iskandar Malaysia is a strategic place to boost Malaysia’s competitiveness in the global market and help Singapore maintain its economic competitiveness by integrating two economies and complementing each other.
He said Malaysia and Singapore agreed to develop Iskandar Malaysia comprehensively to create jobs, attract investments and to have an organic, comprehensive, dynamic, centre of economic vitality in Johor, which would benefit Malaysia and Singapore.
“Our industrial cooperation working group, which was formed last year, has made good progress for win-win opportunities and we should work harder.
“Singapore’s Economic Development Board and Malaysian Investment Development Authority Malaysia (MIDA) can work together to find projects which can fit these models of win-win relationships,” he said at a joint press conference after bilateral discussion in conjunction with the fifth Malaysia-Singapore Leader’s Retreat here today.
Lee said Singapore would help Malaysia upgrade vocational training for its workers in Iskandar Malaysia to enable them have better jobs with better pay in future.
Meanwhile, Lee said, Iskandar Malaysia’s great advantage was that it was located across the straits of Johor where investors could tap what Singapore offered in terms of infrastructure, financial service and industrial base.
“We have land constraint in Singapore. We are upgrading manufacturing and economic sectors. Many projects want to expand but we are not able to accommodate them in Singapore following limited space.
“When we have a good project, we can talk to Iskandar Malaysia and MIDA to look at it and see whether it fits into Malaysia’s plan and your industrial scheme. If it does, you can make an offer and set up in Iskandar Malaysia.
“Therefore, the projects can benefit from the synergy and proximity with what they have in Singapore. I think that is a great help to industries, companies and Iskandar Malaysia. It will benefit the residents and workers as there are more jobs and better pay.
“These will upgrade and develop Malaysia’s economy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Najib said Malaysia welcomed more investments from Singaporeans, especially in Iskandar Malaysia which was “just right in the door steps”.
“The businesses decide on the most competitive place to invest and do business. Singapore business community has been investing in many far away places.
“If we can offer the advantages at more competitive rates, certainly it will be more attractive for them to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.
“From our perspective, stimulate investment and create high-paying jobs. They are going to be good for Iskandar Malaysia’s development and Malaysia as whole. This is a classic win-win situation,” he said.
Meanwhile in the joint statement after the annual leaders’ retreat, Najib and Lee said they recognised the strategic importance of Iskandar Malaysia and its contributions to greater cooperation between the two countries and the integration of their economies.
The leaders looked forward to Iskandar Malaysia’s comprehensive and holistic development by leveraging on the complementarities between Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore, it said.
The statement said both leaders were satisfied with the progress made in jointly developing industries with synergistic activities in both Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia by the Industrial Cooperation Work Group (ICWG) under the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) for Iskandar Malaysia.
Both prime ministers also agreed that ICWG should continue to promote and explore more mutually beneficial economic activities, particularly in advanced materials engineering, electronics, creative services and food industries, it said. — BERNAMA