Iskandar strategic to Singapore and Malaysia, says PM Lee
April 8, 2014
PUTRAJAYA: The giant Iskandar Malaysia project in Johor state is a "strategic play" that can lift Malaysia above its global competitors and help Singapore maintain its competitive edge, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
But to do so, investments in the fast-growing Iskandar region need to be channelled into manufacturing as well, not just residential properties and services.
Developing the manufacturing sector will help create jobs and attract investments, to build "an organic, comprehensive, dynamic centre for economic vitality in Johor", Mr Lee added.
He was speaking at a joint media conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the end of the retreat for leaders of the two countries. Both noted at the conference the importance of the Iskandar region for its "complementarities" with Singapore, and for deepening their integration.
Mr Lee also said Singapore will help Malaysia upgrade its vocational training, as the need for more skilled manpower will rise in tandem with Iskandar's growth.
This will allow Malaysians to take advantage of new jobs and higher pay, he added.
The Iskandar region has become an investment destination in recent years for people and companies keen to tap its potential as a residential area or a less costly business location near Singapore.