Kuok’s investment may spur more foreign interest in Iskandar

Robert Kuok Iskandar

PETALING JAYA: “Sugar King” Robert Kuok’s entry into Iskandar Malaysia will create a ripple effect, drawing more interest from international investors and creating new jobs and opportunities in the region.

“Because Kuok has close ties with China, more investments are also likely to pour into Iskandar Malaysia from the world’s second-largest economy,” an industry observer told StarBiz.

Kuok had recently invested in a 5.06ha freehold land in Puteri Harbour, Johor, for about RM182mil.

The observer said the tycoon’s entry into the region, incidentally his birthplace, would draw more international attention to the economic development in the southern region.

He also pointed out that Australian property mogul Lang Walker had invested in Iskandar because of Kuok’s recommendation.

It was reported that Walker was alerted to the potential of Iskandar by Kuok, his partner in the Collins Square redevelopment project in Melbourne.

“With Kuok’s help, Walker identified two sites in Johor Baru Lido Beach and Senibong, both of which were driven by the construction of a new coastal highway,” said the report.

Aside from Kuok’s endorsement in the region spreading to the international business sphere, Iskandar is also set to be a beneficiary ensuing the inflow of these investments, he noted.

The observer said: “Johor’s job growth prospects continue to rise on the strength of investments into Iskandar Malaysia.”

An analyst told StarBiz that the authorities would create job opportunities to support the ecosystem there.

She said the boom in different sectors like manufacturing from automobile manufacturing plants, niche developments like Motorsports City and services industries for resort and theme parks would create various job opportunities.

She said there would be a snowball effect, as the jobs created would fuel further advancement in Iskandar.

She expected transaction prices in the region to head north, now that a record high per sq ft (psf) selling price of RM334 had been set for the Puteri Harbour land.

However, she was quick to note that the said piece of land was located in a prime spot and was one of the last few pieces fronting the marina.

The price came at a premium compared with the RM330 psf valued by Messrs Assetz Sdn Bhd

Another analyst, meanwhile, said that while the RM182mil investment might not be as big as other transactions in the region, it was a mark of confidence from Kuok and a comeback of sorts, as the billionaire had stopped investing actively in his homeland for close to two decades.

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