S’pore companies upbeat about investment prospects in Iskandar

Singapore companies are still upbeat about investment prospects in Malaysia, especially in the Iskandar region in Johor.

With the general election and political uncertainties out of the way, some have said it is also a good time to consider raising their investments.

Business relations between Singapore and Malaysia have rarely been on more solid ground.

Singapore companies are among the biggest investors in the Iskandar region.

The project area, greater in size than that of Singapore itself, has attracted S$40 billion in foreign investments.

Singapore’s Foreign Minister, K Shanmugam, said: “Our private sector has invested, investments are made on the basis of calculating all the risk, it is good for Johoreans, it is good for investors. And one assumes that logically, those investments should not be impacted. ”

With Malaysia’s general election now over, some investors said it is probably time to look at raising investments in the country.

Singapore Business Federation CEO Ho Meng Kit said that businessmen will be encouraged to work with their Malaysian counterparts to initiate intra-regional investments and develop competitive strengths jointly.

For others, their investments in Malaysia were never at risk from the result of the elections.

One such investment is the development of the motorsports hub in Iskandar, led by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim.

The S$1.4 billion project – expected to be ready by 2016 – will be operated and managed by Mr Lim’s Fastrack Autosports company.

Barry Kan, director of Fastrack Autosports, said: “If the government sticks to what they have professed and state… even if there is one or two opposition seats in any state for that matter… (I don’t think there) will be a hindrance to businesses.

“In fact, it would make it more clear and transparent for everybody if they are investors in Malaysia in general.”

Even some small and medium enterprises have said they are ready to expand across the Causeway, if the preconditions are right.

Rita Zahara, managing director of Reta Pte Ltd, said: “As long as you find the right partner, the right people to work with, you can still be very efficient.

“The initial teething problem will be…finding the right people and right partner, but the moment you actually overcome that…then it is quite smooth sailing.”

Ms Zahara and her partners have invested in a 2.2 million ringgit factory in Iskandar to manufacture merchandise and food items, an investment no longer hindered by political uncertainty, at least for the next five years.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 6 May 2013

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