Johor / Iskandar watch (update 31): Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan

23 November 2015: Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan


Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan to turn area just after former Johor checkpoint into international business district by Reme Ahmad 23 Nov 2015; Johor yesterday launched a RM20 billion (S$6.7 billion) plan to transform Johor Baru's old city centre into an international business district. Over the next decade, the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) will emerge in the area, located just after the former Johor checkpoint at the end of the Woodlands Causeway. It is named after Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, who celebrated his 57th birthday yesterday. The JB city centre currently has a mix of narrow streets, old shophouses and upgraded malls such as Komtar JBCC and City Square. The IIDB aims to improve infrastructure in the area and dot it with newer towers to leverage on its proximity to Singapore and lower costs, officials said.

19 October 2015: Checking back news - RM30 billion target expected in 2015, Johor hopes to tap large scale Chinese industries,  New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again

RM30bil target for Iskandar can be achieved this year By: ZAZALI MUSA Monday, 12 October 2015

New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, exco says Updated: 5:10 PM, October 7, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR — The new Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system meant for both causeways linking Malaysia to Singapore has been delayed a second time despite an earlier announcement that the system would go live last Thursday (Oct 1). Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Hasni Mohammad said that the new start date for the system, which has already registered 20,000 Singaporean vehicles according to the Road Transport Department (RTD) website, will be determined during the mentris besar and chief ministers meeting. “We have to wait for the outcome of the meeting before making any comment or announcement,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online. This is the system’s second delay, the first resulting from “technical difficulties”, which pushed back its August 1 launch. According to newswire Bernama, the VEP system will initially involve foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia through Johor but will eventually be applied to all 12 road entry points into the country. Roads from Thailand will be next to receive the VEP system, followed by Brunei and Indonesia. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

While some expats work in Singapore, their kids study across the Causeway 938LIVE reports: A look into the appeal of Iskandar's international schools for some expatriates based in Singapore. By Lee Gim Siong, 938LIVE  POSTED: 09 Oct 2015 12:41  UPDATED: 09 Oct 2015 13:48

Johor hopes to tap large scale Chinese industries   By Halim Said - 14 October 2015 @ 5:49 PM NUSAJAYA: Johor is hoping to tap into various large scale industries from China, especially in the manufacturing sector.  Johor Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (JACCCI) vice-president Datuk Tan Seng Leong said the association was bullish and is on the look out for suitable land in the state to accomodate demand from Chinese investors.   "There has been a lot of demand from Chinese investors to set up their operations in Johor," said Tan.   According to Tan, with the rising costs of operation and labour, including the increase in utility tariff in China, Johor was particularly attractive to Chinese investors.   Tan said for large scale industries from China to grow in Johor, there is a need for a bigger land area estimated at around 1,200 to 2,000 hectare to accomodate demand.

China manufacturers plan to locate ops in Johor By: ZAZALI MUSA Thursday, 15 October 2015

MNC looking to invest $60.4m, set up shop in Iskandar Malaysia by Liz Lee October 12, 2015:  A multinational company specialising in the distribution of tropical vegetable oils and their derivatives, has expressed interest to invest MYR250 million ($60.36 million) in Iskandar Malaysia, according to the Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism committee. Committee chairman Tee Siew Kiong said the Europe-based company, with its head office in Singapore, plans to set up its operations in the Southern Economic Corridor in peninsular Malaysia. “The investment could be realised by this year or in the first quarter of next year,” he told a press conference after opening D’ Elegance Hotel in Taman Nusanatara last Friday.

Bosch continues to invest in Malaysia with new Johor office October 14, 2015, Wednesday Read more:

16 October 2015: Johor has right to secede if Putrajaya breaches federation’s terms, says crown prince

Johor has right to secede if Putrajaya breaches federation’s terms, says crown prince October 16, 2015, KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has asserted the southern state has a right to secede from Malaysia if it finds a breach to the terms agreed...Tunku Ismail also said the Johor royal family should not be associated with “the mess” currently affecting the country, adding that it has always been strong, independent and resourceful.....The call for Johor’s secession has been picking up steam online, with social media posts depicting pictures of imaginary Johor currencies—Johor dollar and Johor dinar—going viral earlier this month - See more at:
Editor's note: will need to fill in some story links from late August to mid October soon!

22 August 2015: Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan,land tax hike for Johor River Waterworks, more theme parks, UMLand land bank, Wah Seong contract

Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan timing could be wrong: Consultant  By Chuah Bee Kim - 14 August 2015 @ 7:00 AM JOHOR BARU: The Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan is a good policy, but the timing could be wrong, said a property consultant. KGV International Property Consultants executive director Samuel Tan, who has viewed the master plan, which is up for public viewing at six venues until Aug 19, said he understood the need for the state government to protect the interest of Malaysian property owners and to ensure sustainability of the environment. However, he said the implementation of the master plan now could possibly deter investors from coming to Iskandar Malaysia. Tan said the 99-year lease imposed on foreign property owners, which is one aspect of the master plan, could drive investors to areas which have no such restrictions.   “This would drive the investors to go to Medini, a premium waterfront urban development that has no restrictions on foreign ownership, no minimum price threshold for foreign property buyers, and where investors are exempted from real property gains tax until December 31, 2025  “The price threshold of RM2 million for landed properties and RM1 million for strata-title on foreign property owners could spur developers to push up prices of properties built for Malaysians in Iskandar Malaysia,” said Tan, adding that foreigners would pay three times more for quit rent and assessment as compared with Malaysians in the growth region. Tan was commenting on the Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan, which was unveiled last week and covered housing, green technology, sustainability, reclamation and setting up of international zones for foreign property owners....

Singapore notified Malaysia of concern over land tax hike for Johor River Waterworks: Shanmugam; PUB's operations in Johor are governed by the 1962 Water Agreement which does not require the water agency to pay the land tax says Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
By Monica Kotwani, Channel NewsAsia POSTED: 18 Aug 2015 16:25

Four more theme parks for Iskandar Malaysia Friday, 14 August 2015  By: ZAZALI MUSA; Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim (pic) said the growth corridor would have eight theme parks within the next three to five years. He said talks were going on between Irda and theme park operators from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and North America to set up their theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia. “The size of the new theme parks will range between 20.23 ha and 40.46ha and they could be either outdoor or indoor theme parks,” Ismail told a press conference at the launch of the SME City @ Indahpura here. He said the eight parks included the existing Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, the Hello Kitty Indoor Theme @ Puteri Harbour, the Angry Birds @ JBCC and the water theme park currently under construction at Taman Mount Austin.\

UMLand eyes land acquisition in Iskandar Malaysia Wednesday, 19 August 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is exploring opportunities to acquire land in Iskandar Malaysia as part of its future plan, says chief executive officer Charlie Chia. He said that the company was in the midst of talks to buy a piece of land, between 80.937 hectares to 121.406 hectares in the Iskandar region. ... To date, UMLand's landbank stands at 809.37ha.

2 Indonesian oil tankers detained for entering Pengerang waters illegally   By Halim Said - 13 August 2015 @ 4:30 PM

Wah Seong bags RM189 million Pengerang subcontract Published: 19 August 2015 10:03 AM Wah Seong Corp Bhd has bagged a RM188.96 million subcontract from Penta-Ocean Construction Co Ltd for the supply and delivery of coated steel pipe piles for the Pengerang Deepwater Petroleum Terminal Project in Johor. - See more at:

21 July 2015: Johor crown prince a substantial shareholder in TMC Life Sciences

Johor crown prince a substantial shareholder in TMC Life Sciences Published: 7 July 2015 7:44 PM; The Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim has emerged as a substantial shareholder holding a 7.67% stake in TMC Life Sciences Bhd, in which Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim controls a 70.5% stake. The filing to Bursa Malaysia shows that Tunku Ismail was issued the 133 million TMC Life shares after he sold an indirect 30% stake in BB Waterfront Sdn Bhd. TMC took over the entire stake in BB Waterfront, a wholly-owned unit of Best Blend Sdn Bhd, for RM400 million by issue of shares. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); The Johor royalty held a 30% stake and Lim owned the remaining 70% in Best Blend. BB Waterfront owns Thomson Iskandar, a medical hub project located on 1.6ha in Stulang Laut, which is within 1km radius of the Malaysian CIQ complex located at the Causeway linking Singapore to Johor Bahru. The medical hub will contain a hospital named “Iskandariah Hospital”. Co-located with the hospital is an outpatient medical centre that will contain 400 clinic suites. The medical hub will be managed by Thomson International, a subsidiary of Thomson Medical Pte Ltd – a private hospital owner and operator in Singapore - See more at:

Singapore-Malaysia border crossing (update 5): Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau and Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension

24 May 2015: 2.5 meter waves near Pengerang, Zelan eyes Pengerang projects; Tash Aw writes in NY Times Iskandar appeal to Singaporeans, Forest City says 700,000 homes to come but large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore the nearly 336,000 new private residential units are more than the total number of private homes in Singapore; Lakeside Iskandar project offers 'guaranteed' returns for serviced apartments; slew of articles in Singapore Straits Times including Editorial; government of Johor plans to unveil new laws which will restrict foreign home buyers to new international zones to protect locals from being priced out of the market 

Barge hit by 2.5 metres waves - MMEA Bernama | Updated: May 20, 2015  (First published on: May 20, 2015 21:17 MYT) The barge was believed to be carrying a load of sand from Teluk Ramunia towards Pengerang when it was hit by waves and capsized. - File pic  KOTA TINGGI: Waves as high as 2.5 metres may have caused a barge to capsize with 14 of its crew members still missing off Tanjung Pungai, Pengerang this morning. Read more at:

Zelan eyes projects in Pengerang to boost order book Thursday, 14 May 2015  By: S. PUSPADEVI KUALA LUMPUR: Construction outfit Zelan Bhd, with an order book of RM1.1bil, is bidding for some of  the Pengerang projects which are up for tender in Johor.

Path to ending an old rivalry by tash aw in NY Times Updated: Sunday May 17, 2015 MYT 7:51:26 AM Despite years of tension, the surge of Singaporeans moving to Malaysia illustrates the underlying closeness of the two countries. JUST after 6am on a Monday, and traffic on the Johor-Singapore Causeway is already busy.  In less than an hour, still shrouded in semi-darkness, the Singapore-bound traffic leading to the 1.05km bridge will have slowed to a crawling pace; in bad weather or on the eve of public holidays, rush hour queues sometimes last up to two hours. A striking number of family sedans with Singaporean licence plates stream steadily toward the expressway that leads to the heart of the island republic. Inside the cars, bleary-eyed schoolchildren contemplate the long day ahead.
.......A 3,000-sq-ft house in Horizon Hills, a development that boasts a clubhouse, gym and lush golf course, costs around US$170,000 (RM606,900) – the price of a small government-built Housing and Development Board apartment in Singapore.  For this alone, Singaporeans are prepared to face the daily routine of waking up at 4am in order to get their children to school on time, and then waiting until 7pm for all family members to have finished work or extracurricular activities before driving across the causeway again. As the population of Singapore increases and the cost of living, especially of housing, remains high, more Singaporeans are choosing to live across the narrow strait in Malaysia and commute. The traffic is a visible sign of reinvigorated links between the two countries, whose relationship has been punctuated by political tensions despite shared historical roots and huge bilateral trade. As Singapore celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence – and separation from Malaysia – the rivalry between the two neighbours seems finally to be giving way to a greater recognition of their interdependence.Last month, the front page of the widely read Today newspaper featured a lavish spread highlighting the growing trend of Singaporean families relocating to Iskandar, the 2,217sq km special development zone in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.
Established in 2006, Iskandar covers a land area about three times the size of Singapore; its ambitions rely in large part on its proximity to its neighbour’s mature and continuously expanding economy.
.......The growing Singaporean presence in Iskandar signals an accelerating détente between Singapore and Malaysia. Until 1965, the two countries were part of the same union, first under British colonial rule and then under the fledgling state of Malaysia.  .........The huge number of people now travelling between Malaysia and Singapore is a fresh reminder of just how close the two countries fundamentally are. Malaysians have for many years been relocating to Singapore in search of job opportunities and higher salaries. According to Singapore’s 2010 census, roughly 13% of the resident population is Malaysian. Now it is Singaporeans who are searching for a gentler pace of life in Malaysia. In moving across the causeway, both peoples are giving the lie to the prejudices of recent decades by reaffirming links between their cultures that go back centuries.

Johor's Forest City could house up to 700,000: Developer Published on May 13, 2015 7:15 AM  By Reme Ahmad, Assistant Money Editor; THE master developer for the 1,400ha reclaimed land in Johor near Tuas said that over the next 20 or 30 years, homes may be built that can house as many as 700,000 people. The homes being built in the Forest City project would add to the nearly 336,000 new residential units that are in the pipeline for the rest of Johor state. The large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore. The large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore.  Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who is a board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, told Parliament on Monday that the nearly 336,000 new private residential units are more than the total number of private homes in Singapore.

Lakeside project launched in Iskandar - Developer offers 'guaranteed' returns for serviced apartments May 21, 2015 7:57 AM

EDITORIAL Building Iskandar on firm ground May 21, 2015 5:53 AM  As a growth proposition for Iskandar Malaysia, it is natural to leverage its proximity to Singapore and the city-state's readiness to trade with all for mutual benefit. Supported by ample space and relatively lower costs across the Causeway, that strategy has seen much development taking place in Johor over the years - to the point that analysts have lately flagged the prospect of a glut in certain sectors. For example, Maybank Investment Bank warned that the pro-perty oversupply in Iskandar is "likely to get worse before it gets better". Given Singapore's close ties with its neighbour, it's in the nation's interest to see Iskandar Malaysia - formerly known as Iskandar Development Region and South Johor Economic Region - succeed over the long term. Singapore is the largest foreign investor in Iskandar at RM11 billion (S$4.07 billion) as of June last year, primarily in the areas of manufacturing, education, healthcare and property development. Singaporeans are building, among other things, a medical hub, an international school and factories in the sprawling economic zone about three times the size of Singapore. A number of small and medium-sized enterprises are looking to locate there to take advantage of lower labour and land costs. And Singaporeans with money to buy a second residential property have been wooed by developers of condominiums and landed property in Johor.
- See more at:

$928 million plan to turn Johor Baru river into tourist destination Published on May 15, 2015 1:54 PM - See more at:

Johor to create special foreigner zones Property GuruProperty Guru – Tue, May 19, 2015..
The government of Johor plans to unveil new laws which will restrict foreign home buyers to new international zones to protect locals from being priced out of the market. According to Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi, Johors Minister for Local Government and Housing, details of the plan will be released in June or in August in order to get feedback from the property industry and the public prior to making a final decision. The move follows complaints that thousands of residential units built by developers are primarily targeted at foreigners. The units, which include three-storey landed homes and luxury condominiums, are often priced way beyond the reach of most Johoreans. Last year, the Malaysian government set a minimum price threshold of RM1 million for foreign property buyers. Abdul Latif noted that the move only worsened the situation as property developers keen on selling units to foreigners have set RM1 million as the minimum price. We do not want foreigners to buy all over (Johor), as prices would then go up and the locals cant afford them, he said. We will decide on these areas after engaging with the public and others. Generally, foreigners are allowed to acquire up to 50 percent of the units at property projects in Iskandar provided the minimum price is RM1 million. They are prohibited from purchasing units built for low-income Malaysians or for the indigenous bumiputera and Malay communities.

Iskandar Malaysia records RM7.98 bln in new investments in 1Q 2015 Posted on May 7, 2015, Thursday JOHOR BAHARU: Iskandar Malaysia recorded RM7.98 billion in new investments in the first quarter of this year. It brought the cumulative committed investments secured to RM166.10 billion from 2006 until March 31, 2015. Announcing the investment figures, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said of the committed investments, RM78.53 billion or 47 per cent represented those realised as projects on the ground. He said domestic investments made up RM102.34 billion or 62 per cent while the rest were from foreign players. “We continue to see strong support from Singapore, China, the United States, Spain and Japan. “However, it is the domestic investments which truly reflects the confidence in the region’s development,” said Mohamed Khaled after launching the Synergy Cloud Data Centre at Senai Business Aviation Terminal, here yesterday.
Read more:

16 May 2015: Johor property glut prompts Singapore to warn buyers of risks

Johor property glut prompts Singapore to warn buyers of risks Published: 12 May 2015 7:29 AM
An artist's impression of the Iskandar Development Project in Johor. A possible property glut has seen the Singapore government advise its citizens to be more cautious when buying property in the southern Malaysian state. – May 12, 2015.An artist's impression of the Iskandar Development Project in Johor. A possible property glut has seen the Singapore government advise its citizens to be more cautious when buying property in the southern Malaysian state. – May 12, 2015.In Johor alone, there are around 336,000 new private residential units in the pipeline – more than the total number of private homes  in Singapore. And this does not include the 1,400ha of reclaimed land near the Tuas Second Link, which will be developed from 2020 onwards. In the light of rising concerns about this oversupply of private properties across the Causeway, the Singapore government will ramp up efforts to raise awareness of the risks involved in buying overseas property. “Given these indications, buyers are becoming more cautious, as shown by many reports,” Singapore minister for culture, community and youth Lawrence Wong said in the Singapore parliament yesterday, in his capacity as a member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) board of directors. “Official Malaysian data suggest the Johor housing market is already slowing down ... Singaporean buyers, too, are becoming wary.”
According to a survey of real estate agencies, the number of Malaysian properties bought through these agencies dropped from 2,609 in 2013 to 838 last year, said Mr Wong, who was replying a query by Singapore MP Dr Lee Bee Wah (of the Nee Soon group constituency). Her question on how many Singaporeans are individual owners of properties in Iskandar Malaysia comes after a recent Maybank report cautioned investors that the glut of homes in Iskandar will be aggravated by a huge incoming supply this year and next. The report pointed the finger at aggressive land-banking activities by Chinese developers, which could worsen the glut and lead to price wars in the high-rise mixed-development segment. - See more at:

1 May 2015: Iskandar Malaysia records RM158b in committed investments - expect a year-to-year of RM25-30 billion

Iskandar Malaysia records RM158b in committed investments Thursday, 30 April 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: Iskandar Malaysia, the major development corridor in Johor, recorded a total cumulative committed investments of RM158 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, said the targeted cumulative committed investments was RM383 billion.  "Since its establishment in 2006, domestic investments have been growing steadily, making up 67 per cent of RM158 billion and 33 per cent foreign investments. "We are optimistic that from this year, we can expect a year-to-year of RM25-30 billion," he said at the launch of the third batch of the Iskandar Malaysia Creative Industry Talent Development Programme (IMCITDP) here today. The programme is a collaboration between IRDA and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios. In a partnership with Japanese digital post-production company, Imagica International Asia, four courses from a total of 28 courses, will be offered....

26 April 2015: On Iskandar property glut, lawmakers views; Johor state government has requested Bank Negara to review housing loan policies to enable buyers own homes worth more than RM140,000 in Iskandar Malaysia - the problem is that banks don’t give out loans; Part of VEP fees to be used to improve Johor public transportation 

In Iskandar glut, lawmakers see foreign optimism meeting poor local demand BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY, MELISSA CHI and SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL Monday April 20, 201507:01 AM GMT+8; “There is a misconception of the demand market here... there is a clear mismatch between supply and demand,” Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad told Malay Mail Online. “While there is an oversupply of premium properties, the demand however is for medium and low cost ones owing to peoples incomes,” he added. Shahrir said it is only natural for developers of premium residential properties in Iskandar to be hardest hit by the dip in prices and secondary sales, as that was never the focus of the region. “You have to be fair to Iskandar as housing was never part of its main draft. The crux of its investment was more on services, hospitality and manufacturing as well as allocations for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “The investments we are interested in are not housing and this is why we have called in Pinewood and Legoland to Iskandar. That is the main investment strategy but because of all these, foreign developers think there is a demand for their properties and that is not happening. “This is what’s happening and they have to live with it. If they are willing to take the risk then we can’t stop them,” the senior Umno lawmaker said..........Johor opposition leader and Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau noted that the number of residential projects launched in the state was done without sufficient supporting services or industries in place to make them viable in the near term. The DAP leader said that the region is not yet able to accommodate a surge in tourism, nor is it able to fulfil the needs of foreign investors seeking to take advantage of Malaysia’s second home schemes. “There will be a sustainable demand for properties here but not in the near future. It will take another five to ten years to see booms in economic sectors such manufacturing, service sectors and so on  before there is a more steady increase of demand for properties,” he said in an earlier email interview. ..........DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong stressed that the the rapid pace of property development in Iskandar has no real legs to stand, a situation that is not helped by the general slowdown in the property market nationwide.
“Johor is a case of killing the golden goose too fast, too greedily. The property market is not sustained by a genuine working population with income to support their investments, while borrowing rates are surging, awaiting the bubble to burst,” he said when contacted. ..........Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, however, believes the upcoming RM53 billion Pengerang Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project will provided the needed jobs and spending capacity to revive the region’s flagging property market. “Property in Iskandar is experiencing a down cycle, but it (sales) will pick up itself once corporate businesses like RAPID kickstarts. “Once corporations set up business in Iskandar, then things will pick up. When businesses come in offering higher job opportunities, only then will the supply (of residential property) be taken up. It (Iskandar) will not become a white elephant,” he said....

Johor asks Bank Negara to study housing needs Wednesday, 22 April 2015; JOHOR BARU: The Johor state government has requested Bank Negara to review housing loan policies to enable buyers own homes worth more than RM140,000 in Iskandar Malaysia. State housing and local government executive committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi, said such move was needed to help developers overcome the difficulty in selling their housing projects and excess houses.
“The problem is that banks don’t give out loans.  “Even though the buyers command salary of RM10,000 a month, the banks will not release loans so long as they see the buyers having other debt-paying commitments. “Hence, Bank Negara has to study the housing needs,” he said after opening the 17th AGM of the Bumiputra Contractors (cleaning services and solid waste disposal) Association of Johor here yesterday. He was responding to a survey conducted by Malayan Banking Bhd on excess of luxury homes in Iskandar Malaysia recently.

Part of VEP fees to be used to improve public transportation  by nelson benjamin Updated: Monday April 20, 2015 MYT 12:28:34 PM; JOHOR BARU: The state government will use its share of the proposed vehicle entry permit (VEP) fees to improve public transportation in the state. State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the money collected would be channelled to improve the bus transportation system. “We are also looking at improving traffic flow, especially on the major roads, such as Jalan Tebrau, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Skudai, which are congested during peak hours,” he said. The state is expected to get 25% or RM5 from the RM20 that will be imposed on foreign vehicles entering Malaysia through the Causeway here and the Second Link Expressway in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah, from Aug 1.
Asked for the four-month delay in implementing it, Hasni said there were certain issues which needed to be ironed out, including tabling a proposal in Parliament because it involved border crossings..... Besides Singapore, Malaysia also has border crossings with Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia. He said under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the state had requested RM7.674bil from the Federal Government for infrastructure and rural development......... Under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2014), Johor received RM8.5bil. Hasni said the bulk of the allocation totalling RM3.06bil under the 11MP would go towards 10 major road projects. They include the Gemas-Ayer Hitam road, the Pasir Gudang Highway (third phase), the Muar-Tangkak-Segamat road (fifth package) and the Batu Pahat-Ayer Hitam road. He said the state was also looking at ways to improve east-west connectivity, especially with a better road system........

19 April 2015: Maybank cautions on "huge incoming supply" for Iskandar residential and commercial property; Jho Low quick flip of Iskandar property, UEM Sunrise RM42 billion project Gerbang Nusajaya, plan to ban lorries on Causeway, crooked bridge / Causeway replacement won't be revived says Johor MB, relocation of Singapore businesses and families to Iskandar, Singapore re-engineering driving "higher capital-labor ratios, more innovation and downsizing. Some companies are relocating offshore to Iskandar and Batam"

Caution advised on Iskandar residential, commercial property: Maybank UPDATED: 18 Apr 2015 00:06; Oversupply, "huge incoming supply" in a crowded development space and "aggressive landbanking activities" by Chinese developers among the reasons for concern flagged by Maybank Investment Bank's research unit. "We prefer the Klang Valley and Penang over Iskandar."

Edge Weekly - Jho Low made RM400 million by quick flip of Iskandar land deal By The Edge Malaysia / The Edge Malaysia   | April 3, 2015 : 10:00 PM MYT  IN late 2006, the then 26-year-old Jho Low approached Khazanah Nasional seeking support for Kuwait Finance House’s bid for RHB Bank Bhd ( Financial Dashboard). Khazanah had a 30% stake in RHB Bank at the time. He did not succeed, but he got whiff of a business opportunity in the then emerging Iskandar regional development in Johor. After finding out that Khazanah was inviting bids from Middle Eastern investors to buy and develop various parcels of land in the Medini area, Jho Low quickly used his connections to form Iskandar (Holdings) Company Ltd with three Middle East parties. The shareholders

UEM Sunrise unveils Gerbang Nusajaya with GDV of RM42b Wednesday, 8 April 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd has unveiled comprehensive development plans for Gerbang Nusajaya – the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia – with a gross development value of RM42bil. UEM Sunrise said on Wednesday Gerbang Nusajaya is master planned for connectivity and is easy to reach from Malaysia, Singapore, and regional cities. Gerbang Nusajaya features a number of catalytic developments including Nusajaya Tech Park, a 519-acre integrated eco-friendly tech park and FASTrack Iskandar, which is a 300-acre “motorsports city”. The massive development would be over 25 years and would create 76,000 direct job offerings, 137,000 indirect job offerings together with a population of 220,000.  UEM Sunrise is the master developer of Nusajaya, which is one of the five flagship zones and key driver of Iskandar Malaysia. It said Gerbang Nusajaya as the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia, will be the commercial and business engine for Nusajaya.  “The 4,551-acre second phase development of Nusajaya is designed for growth via catalytic developments and strategic partnerships with established developers and multinational companies,” it said.....

19 April 2015: Plan to ban lorries on Causeway /khoryuleng/2014/08/singapore-malaysia-border-crossing-fees.html

Housing, water more vital than ‘Crooked Bridge’, Johor MB says Friday April 17, 201509:34 AM GMT+8; KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 ― Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin said yesterday that the state prioritises housing and clean water supply over the discontinued “Crooked Bridge” project. Local daily the New Straits Times reported Khaled as saying that the Johor state government will not revive the project and that any talks instead would likely centre on the underground tunnel proposed during the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat last year. “I have been informed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (about the crooked bridge) and the state government will abide by the federal government’s decision,” Khaled was quoted saying. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently told Perak Today in an interview that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not talk to him for six months after a dinner discussion that had ended in questions over the delay of the “Crooked Bridge” project. Najib told TV3 in a televised interview last Thursday that Dr Mahathir wanted the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid cash aid policy scrapped and the “Crooked Bridge” project to be revived — two issues that he said could have been part of the reason why the former prime minister has become more vocal in his criticisms towards him. The so-called “Crooked Bridge” was Dr Mahathir’s idea to replace the Causeway linking Johor and Singapore, but was discontinued by his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and believed to be among reasons why the latter was hounded out of office by the man who put him there. - See more at:

Najib, Mahathir on 'crooked bridge': What is the issue about Published on Apr 13, 2015 10:44 PM; KUALA LUMPUR - The so-called "crooked bridge" never took off in the 14 years after it was first mooted by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, but the recurring national issue may yet take down a second successive Malaysian leader. In 2003, just before ending his 22-year tenure as PM, Tun Dr Mahathir announced that Malaysia would go ahead and build a crooked bridge - a six-lane S-shaped highway that would curve in such a way that it allows vessels to pass under it - if Singapore refused to demolish its half of the Causeway. The failure of his successor Abdullah Badawi to push ahead with replacing the Causeway led Dr Mahathir to viciously attack him in 2006. The move, observers say, eventually pushed Tun Abdullah to resign in 2009. The still influential Dr Mahathir now claims that Datuk Seri Najib Razak also failed to keep his promise to build the crooked bridge, and has asked the prime minister to step down amid a host of other outstanding issues plaguing his administration....

KTL Global relocating bulk of Singapore operations to Johor Published on Apr 7, 2015 9:40 AM
SINGAPORE - Oil-and-gas rigging equipment supplier KTL Global will be relocating the bulk of its Singapore operations to Johor, Malaysia, as part of key corporate changes announced on Tuesday following a strategic review of its businesses.
By June, the group will have relocated most of its heavy steel rope and rigging production from Singapore to Tanjung Langsat. "This will resolve the issues of high labour costs, utility charges, and government levies faced in Singapore, as well as a shortage of manpower," the company said.....

Recycler finds bigger green pasture by Ariel Lim and Jacqueline Woo The Straits TimesThursday, Apr 09, 2015 FOR local plastics recycler Winrigo, having enough space is essential.The firm needs to stockpile large amounts of waste material. This was why Winrigo jumped at the opportunity to set up a 24,000 sq ft manufacturing plant in the Iskandar development zone about five years back. Operations director Teri Teo, 44, told The Straits Times last month that Iskandar's proximity to Singapore made it "the best candidate" for the company to expand operations in. "We're dealing with scrap material, so it's important Iskandar has the space we need and is near enough for us to transport materials without spending too much time travelling," he said. "Commuting is easy, and we can go home in the evening to spend time with our families." The green-tech firm is devoted to the development of its line of environmentally friendly plastics known as R3plas....

The Big Read: Iskandar’s lure is a strong pull for S’poreans  By YVONNE LIM  Updated: 4:20 AM, April 4, 2015; SINGAPORE — Every weekday morning before the sun even rises, Singaporean teacher Naharudin Shariff, 46, will leave his home in Nusajaya – about 20 minutes’ drive from Johor Bahru city centre – and make his way across the Causeway to send his three daughters to different schools, before driving to work himself. Come evening, he repeats the routine: After work, he will wait for his daughters - one is studying in junior college, the other two in secondary school - to finish their classes, pick them up, and head back to Malaysia. They try to reach home by 7pm every night and have dinner together. “If one of my daughters has to attend an extra class in school, we all plan our day around that. Everyone tries to arrange their schedules so that everyone does something that day. That way we don’t have to make so many trips to and fro,” he said.  The daily shuttling between the two countries is a small inconvenience for a better quality of life in Johor, he said. “The whole family is happier (in Johor),” he told this newspaper at in his three-storey house in Horizon Hills, a gated community in Nusajaya. “Our house here is a lot bigger (compared to the condominium unit he used to own in Singapore). My wife can now have the spice garden she had always wanted, and our kids keep a rabbit and a chick as pets.” He added: “It is very quiet, especially at night. Very peaceful and relaxing, you don’t hear vehicles or the MRT. When you look out the window, you see trees instead of another concrete block.” ..........

Singapore's Growing Success Sparks a Backlash - This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Forbes Asia. Forbes Staff Forbes Staff , Contributor     By Jane A. Peterson; Wild Rocket Group started ten years ago in Singapore and now has four restaurants serving modern Singaporean cuisine. But sometimes it’s forced to turn away guests because it can’t hire enough staff. “It’s incredibly frustrating,” sighs 43-year-old Willin Low, the owner and, at his flagship restaurant, the head chef. “All of my expansion plans have halted.”.....Investors want him to open outlets in Jakarta, London or Tokyo, but Low refuses. He can’t build a competent staff to expand his $3.7 million business in Singapore, let alone launch overseas. Tightening government limits on foreign workers oblige Wild Rocket to hire Singaporeans for 60% of its openings, even though most locals shun restaurant work. Add to the mix an extremely tight labor market (the unemployment rate is just 1.9%) and rising taxes on each foreign worker hired. “You end up hiring Singaporeans who are not good,” laments Low, “and you can’t fire them”–at least not without losing a competent foreign worker to maintain the same balance.... Still, complaints reverberate across the business community as the growth in foreign manpower shrinks, from 6.8% in 2012 to just 2.6% last year. “When I started Singapore was a very welcoming, pro-business environment,” says Australian Chris Wanden, who owns the 12-year-old Dimbulah coffee chain. “Now it’s under threat. [Foreign-worker limits] undermine growth. Labor-market controls are not part of a free-market economy.” Companies also routinely beef about locals who job-hop relentlessly. “Singaporeans can be very picky,” explains Tan. “They see it as a birthright to get good jobs. The good life here may well have contributed to the lack of perspective on global competition, and this has curbed their hunger.” ...Many analysts applaud the government for managing an economic restructuring in which the fittest companies survive and the least productive fold. “With time, things like service standards can be repaired,” says economist Manu Bhaskaran of Centennial Asia Advisors, a research and advisory firm. “The real threat to Singapore’s tourist trade is high costs. Singapore needs a period of cost-adjustment before it regains competitiveness, whether in tourist services or other areas. [Before,] there was no incentive to upgrade and become productivity-driven. Now companies have no choice.” Leading Singapore companies are beginning to reengineer, he says, through higher capital-labor ratios, more innovation and downsizing. Some companies are relocating offshore to Iskandar and Batam, while others, such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever, are expanding their local operations....

13 April 2015: A dozen international schools targeted

Iskandar Malaysia aims to have a dozen international schools by yee xiang yun Updated: Saturday April 11, 2015 MYT 8:47:25 AM; JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia is well on its way to establishing itself as an education hub with a target of welcoming a dozen of international schools to set up their campuses in Johor. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said that it had achieved half its target so far with six international schools already setting up their respective campuses here. Ismail said that the international schools here offered syllabus from the primary school level up to the O and A Levels or equivalent levels.
“Our ideal target is to have 12 international schools in Iskandar Malaysia but there is no timeframe for achieving that as we prefer for it to take its natural course....

12 April 2015: New Iskandar hub to cater to datacentre demand surge

New Iskandar hub to cater to datacentre demand surge Updated: Wednesday April 8, 2015 MYT 4:10:03 PM Sedenak Iskandar data hub — a 700-acre data hub in the Iskandar Malaysia area of Johor — has been announced to meet the region’s rising demand for datacentre space and services.
The Malaysian cloud services and datacentre industry recorded RM795mil in revenue for 2014, a 26% leap from RM630mil in 2013. Exports grew from 7% to 18%.
Sectors that contributed to this growth include the federal government (29%), banking and financial (19%), and content and technology (17%). There was also growth in high-value datacentre services such as managed services that accounted for 50% of the total revenue, a 20% increase from 2013.
The data hub was announced by the Data Centre Task Force that consists of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), Johor Corporation (JCorp) and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).
Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive officer of MDeC said, “Cloud services and datacentres are a key sector identified to contribute to the national gross income. With the new Data Hub, we aim to attract high value investments from top cloud services and datacentre providers to Malaysia, to further accelerate the growth of industry and position Malaysia as a world-class data hub in the region.

31 March 2015: Singapore rental versus interest cost for 150-200bp positive carry spread

Will look out for similar property review on Iskandar. One of the justifications for Iskandar property prices was that it could go to 30% below Woodlands, Singapore and be considered fair value.

UOBKayHian - Monday , 30 March 2015; Property − Singapore; Does Rental Income Still Cover Interest Costs?....  Positive carry still exists but increasingly difficult to rent out. Those who are able
to rent out their units will continue seeing positive carry as rental yields (2.5-3.5%)
exceed mortgage rates of 1.5-2%. However, the positive carry spread will narrow to
about 100 bp (from 150 bp earlier) as the variable mortgage rates effectively increase
by about 50 bp compared with four months before. Also, it has become increasingly
difficult to rent out units as the increased completions and slower influx of foreigners is
resulting in rising vacancies (about 8.5% of condo & apartment units are vacant).
Another 100 bp rise in SIBOR or alternatively a 30% drop in rents from here on would
result in the positive carry situation turning into a negative carry situation...........

19 March 2015: In-depth interview with the Sultan of Johor - The Star

Sultan of Johor speaks his mind by wong chun wai AND nelson benjamin Updated: Wednesday March 18, 2015 MYT 2:07:15 PM; JOHOR BARU: Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar moved into Istana Bukit Serene weeks ago from Istana Pasir Pelangi and the interview with The Star was at the new official residence overlooking Singapore.

Driving up the road leading to the palace, it was amazing to see several huge cages on both sides, with tigers, panthers and cats inside them. The edifice, some 2km away from the Jalan Kolam Air entrance, was perched on a hill and overlooked a huge swimming pool......We were ushered into the interior of the grand palace, passing through a large hall area with ornate wooden furniture and chandeliers, and huge portraits of the Johor royal family adorning the walls. Sultan Ibrahim was already there to meet us, wearing a sky blue short sleeved linen shirt and in a jovial mood. “Go ahead and ask me anything,” he said as we all sat down.

And throughout the hour-long session, the monarch took all our questions, including tough ones on his business ventures, Chinese investors coming to Johor, the change in the state’s weekend, rumours of a casino and his son’s liver transplant in China.

On the coronation - Q: Tuanku, The Star extends its congratulations to you on your forthcoming coronation. Your Royal Highness, why is the coronation taking place only after more than four years?......
Q: What are the events planned in conjunction with the Coronation?.........
Q: What are your wishes and hopes for Johor? A: I hope that people from all races will unite irrespective of their religion and belief. This is our home and it belongs to all Malaysians. This state is the home of all Johoreans regardless of race and religion. The people should also appreciate the stability of the state and, of course, Malaysia. We live in a multi-racial society. We must respect each other. There is no room for extremism in Johor. Please uphold the values and principles of moderation.

On business, development and reclamation in Johor  Q: Tuanku, your increasing business and commercial dealings have become a talking point. The Johor royalty is involved in a variety of businesses, including a power plant (the 1,000MW-1,400MW Project 4A) and property development in Johor. How does the royalty balance what is good for the people and the state when it has a personal interest in so many businesses? A: If you look at the history of the Johor royal family, we have been involved in business from the days of my great-grandfather. I have never tried to hide my business dealings using proxies, like some people do. I am open and transparent. Tracing the Johor royal lineage, you would have seen how the Johor royal family has a long history of doing business. It began with gambier and black pepper during the early days. .... I was doing palm oil business when I was the Tengku Mahkota....  Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else. I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27,000 a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians. I am sure Johoreans do not want to perceive me as one selling titles for my income. It is unfair to say that the private sector would be crowded out. Look at the number of private companies doing business in Johor. It is a free market. No one is forced to buy anything from anyone. Monopoly does not exist in Johor.

Q: What are your views on claims that the land reclamation works will affect Singapore’s shoreline? A: There is plenty of land in Johor but the coastline is strategic. People only talk about reclamation by Johor, but not many are aware that land reclamation in Singapore reportedly started as early as the 1820s.... Singapore has reclaimed over 70sq km of land from 1960 to the present day, I am told..... .... Then, there is talk of the environment. I have done my checking. There is not a single dugong that would be affected; get your facts right. According to the MB, a 30-sen fee has been imposed for every square foot of land reclaimed to help fishermen affected by the reclamation. It will bring in over RM104mil to help the fishermen.

Q: The 1,386ha Forest City property project has become a controversy. Forest City will be almost half the size of Putrajaya and will rise in the Johor Straits, southwest of Johor Baru, where the Second Link to Singapore is situated. It is a joint venture between Guangdong-based Country Garden Holdings and the Johor state-owned Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ). A: As the Sultan, I welcome all investors, just as the mentri besar would. It would be insane for anyone to reject investments.... If there are any Americans, Britons, Australians or Germans who would want to put money in Johor, they are welcome, but where are they? If the Chinese are prepared to invest here, why should it be an issue?...All these investments will be good as this will have a spill-over effect for other sectors such as retail, more job opportunities for locals and for the transportation services....

Q: Johor has seen a few major Chinese developers launching large-scale property projects. One developer, for instance, launched 9,000 units at one go and most are to be sold to buyers from China. But a large number of units are not sold yet. There are concerns that Johor is seeing an over-built situation and possible creation of ghost cities. Local developers have also been speaking up about preferential treatment to these overseas developers. Please comment. A: The fear of a glut is just an assumption. All these homes will not be built simultaneously.... We are talking about investing in the future and these Chinese investors know the Hong Kong and Shenzen scenario very well.  Over 200,000 people cross to Shenzen each day in just 45 minutes. That is how the cross-border culture has changed dramatically.... I think local developers just have to work harder. I believe that healthy competition among the developers is good for the industry.

Q: Is it correct to say that not many people dare to speak up against your Royal Highness? There is fear and respect, all mixed together. After all, you do have a controversial reputation. A: (Laughs) Well, you are asking me tough questions. I think I am a friendly and easy-going person. I am straight-talking. I cannot stand hypocrites. I expect people to speak up. Be a man. You have asked me difficult questions straight to my face.... A lot of people, including some politicians in Kuala Lumpur, don’t know me but talk as if they know me. There are those who have preconceived ideas of me. I don’t blame them.

On his son, Tunku Abdul Jalil Q: On a personal note, there has been speculation over the health of Tuanku’s son, Tunku Abdul Jalil ibni Sultan Ibrahim (pic), also known as Tunku Laksamana Johor. Can you comment, especially on his liver transplant? A: He is fine and well after the transplant, thanks be to God. The next five years will be very crucial for him as he needs to watch his food and his lifestyle.... We only discovered the cancer last year as initially my son was complaining of shoulder pain and was only treated at the local General Hospital, which just provided him with pain killers and sleeping tablets.... We only discovered that something was wrong while holidaying in London. After discussing with surgeons from Singapore, we decided to go for a full organ transplant in Guangzhou, China. They told me not to waste any more time... I am thankful that the procedure went well and we were well cared for when in China... The Chinese went to great lengths to help my son. They sent two doctors to Singapore to talk with the doctors there. They provided English-speaking doctors and nurses. They also provided other facilities for me there. I am greatly touched and grateful to them. I also want to thank my subjects as I was deeply touched when informed that thousands of people from all races and religions came together to pray for my son and my family. All those prayers certainly helped him.

On the Johor weekend Q: Will the Friday and Saturday weekend for the civil service still remain or does Johor, as a developing state, plan to revert to Saturday and Sunday to compete internationally, especially with so much talk about doing business with Singapore? Or will the private sector be forced to change to Friday and Saturday as well? A: It’s already over a year since Johor has had Friday and Saturday as the weekend. The aim of the change is to enable Muslims to perform their prayers without having to rush back to their offices.... I understand it has its implications for the private sector as well as doing business with Singapore. I am still in the process of gathering feedback from the public and private sectors.

> TOMORROW: Sultan Ibrahim’s thoughts on royal awards, rumours about a proposed casino in Johor, his relationship with mentris besar past and present, and more.

Sultan Ibrahim also wants a balanced development where the people will benefit  by wong chun wai AND nelson benjamin Updated: Thursday March 19, 2015 MYT 8:34:26 AM; JOHOR BARU: Johor rulers have always been strict when giving out state awards. Each year only a few people are awarded Datukships in the state. ............
Q: Tuanku, Johor is known for its reluctance to give awards. What is your response to talk by Malaysians that there are far too many Datuks in Malaysia? A: I can tell you this. I am aware the people are saying that if you throw a stone, you will hit a Datuk but I can add this — if you throw a stone now, it will hit a Datuk; it will then rebound and hit another Datuk. That is the situation now and we cannot deny this talk. We must feel the pulse of the people.
Q: There are accusations that Tuanku plans to open a casino in the state. Please comment.  A: I know that there is a lot of talk and speculation that Tan Sri Vincent Tan and I plan to team up to open a casino, after I bought Berjaya shares simply because he has a licence (for Sports Toto). I can assure my subjects that as long as I am around, there will be no casino in Johor. In Johor, we do not encourage the issuance of any gambling licences and if possible I want all the illegal ones to be cleaned up by the police.

On environmental issues  Q: You have expressed concern about the environment many times. Could you elaborate?  A: It is pointless to be a developed state if our environment is all polluted as it will not be a conducive place for the rakyat to live in. That is why I directed the state government and relevant authorities to ensure that there are no illegal logging activities in the state. I fully support the state’s decision to freeze any logging activities statewide beginning this year, while existing ones will continue until their contracts expire. Then there will be no more. I also want the state government to increase the number of green lungs in Johor, as well as maintain existing forest areas, as an effort to preserve the environment. That is why in the Forest City project, great emphasis will be placed on the environment and greenery. Transportation on the island will be free as there will be a monorail everywhere. Meanwhile, cars will travel and park underground. I want to see green and trees everywhere in the midst of this massive development.

On state development - Q: Johor is seeing a large number of unplanned developments that were not in the Iskandar Master Plan. Considering this, would you like to see a freeze on property development approvals in the state? A: It is for the Mentri Besar to decide but as the Sultan, I wish to see balanced development. I do not want to see Johor Baru filled with buildings only. ....... There must be spillover effects with the ordinary people being able to open up businesses to serve the people who have bought homes here....I hope that the Government will speed up the building of the 28,000 affordable homes in the state, especially for first-time buyers.
Q: There are some who say that Tuanku has used his power to acquire state land. What have you to say about that? A: I can quote you the amount of land that has been acquired by the state from me, instead of the other way around. In Pengerang, the state acquired my land. In some cases, it has ended with me paying the state because they could not afford to pay me after acquiring the land....There is misconception, as I do not need to take government land. I never ask for anything for free as I am willing to pay for it, above market price and in cash.

On ties with mentris besar - Q: Speaking about the MB, there are perceptions that you have more clout than the MB. What is your response? A: You chose the word “perceptions”. I cannot control what some people want to say. I cannot tell the MB what to do.  He is the head of the state government. He is elected and enjoys the majority of the House. I am the Sultan and I understand my role very well. Whatever our positions, we share the same goal – to see Johor prosper. I have a good relationship with him. It helps, perhaps because we were schoolmates. We have a good working relationship.
Q: Did your Royal Highness have a problem with the previous mentri besar, Tan Sri Ghani Othman?  A: I do not want to talk about the past. It’s over.


18 March 2015: First VLCC at Pengerang 
Dialog announced that its Pengerang Deepwater Terminal received its very first Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) – the Liberian-registered “MT Mesdar”. The 333-metre long vessel weighing in 315,802 metric tonnes arrived from the Middle East to discharge its crude oil cargo at Phase 1 of the deepwater terminal. “MT Mesdar” is the first VLCC to call at Pengerang and, the first to berth at Malaysian jetty, since the recent commissioning of the crude oil tanks in early Mar 2015 (Bursa Malaysia).

17 March 2015: Johor Sultan boosts stake in REDtone to 20% (the third corporate transaction with the family of Vincent Tan), Singapore buyers interest waning and worry about policy issues including cross-border tolls; Iskandar sees RM26.77 billion investments in 2014, some Japanese buyer interest

Johor sultan ups stake in REDtone, The Star/Asia News Network, Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015; PETALING JAYA -  Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has emerged as the single-largest individual shareholder in REDtone International Bhd following a spate of open-market purchases, coupled with the conversion of his warrants and convertible loan stocks into ordinary shares.... The recent activities have boosted his holdings in the company to 20 per cent from 4.8 per cent previously... "We are excited to have Tuanku as one of our major shareholders, especially at a time when we are aiming to further solidify our growth and widen our profits," REDtone chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ali Syed Abbas Al Habshee said in a statement....Meanwhile, the other substantial shareholder of REDtone, Berjaya Corp's chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Robin Tan Yeong Ching, said he was pleased to hear of the stake increase by Sultan Ibrahim...The corporate transaction in REDtone is the third major notable corporate transaction between the Sultan and the Tan family's related companies. Prior to this, StarBiz had reported back in February 2014 that he had paid RM396mil (S$148 million) for a 15 per cent stake in Tan Sri Vincent Tan's privately-owned MOL AccessPortal Sdn Bhd....In December 2013, the Sultan paid RM250mil for 20 per cent in Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd, which among others, owns the Berjaya Times Square Mall in Kuala Lumpur....

Interest in Iskandar not waning - Security issues and inconsistency in policies are concerns By: THEAN LEE CHENG Saturday, 7 March 2015; THE number of launches in Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia has dropped of late, with each new quarter seeing fewer launches, according to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda). ince January this year, there have been very few launches.
....The others in the group were Property Guru country manager Gerard Kho and Gabungan AQRS Bhd senior general manager Jerry Lau. Chur Associates managing partner Chris Tan was the moderator for the discussion entitled “Have Singaporeans Lost Their Appetite for Iskandar Malaysia?”.... Kho, whose company has been conducting quarterly property shows in Singapore over the last two years, said he had noticed a drop in the number of visitors between June 2013 and June 2014. “At our peak, in June 2014, over a two-day weekend, developers who participated in the event sold between RM70mil and RM80mil worth of Malaysian property. Recently, we only had enquiries, not outright purchases. The number of visitors has also dwindled.” Kho said the questions visitors were asking about the Johor market were also different. “They do not ask if Iskandar is a viable proposition. Instead, they want to know the proportion taken up by fellow Singaporeans. They also want to know the sort of policies that will be put in place, and have concerns about the daily toll rates between the two countries. They also voice concerns about policy inconsistency,” said Kho.... The debate on Iskandar is interesting for various reasons. Nowhere in Malaysia have so many high-rise residential projects been approved in such a short period of time. .... According to KGV Lambert International, the local authorities there have approved 80,900 units, although only 8,000 are being constructed today....

Iskandar Malaysia Secures RM26.77 Billion In Investments; JOHOR BAHARU, March 10 (Bernama) -- Iskandar Malaysia secured RM26.77 billion in new investments last year, bringing the total cumulative committed amount to RM158.3 billion since 2006. In 2013, the new investments were RM25.05 billion.Iskandar Regional Development Authority chief executive, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, said of the total, RM77.07 billion, or 49 per cent, represented investments that had been realised.... Of the total cumulative committed investments, 36 per cent, or RM56.99 billion, came from foreign investors, he said. ... From January until September last year, top foreign investors were Singapore, US, Spain, Japan and China... Ismail said with the launch of the enhanced Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan (CDPii) by the second quarter of this year, investors and stakeholders may also get an insight into the outlook and opportunities in Iskandar Malaysia as it moved into its third phase towards maturity in 2025....

Growing Japanese interest seen in Iskandar, says UMLand Tuesday March 10, 2015 06:44 PM GMT+8; NUSAJAYA, March 10 — There has been a steady increase in Japanese interest in Iskandar Malaysia properties due to the conducive environment and proximity to Singapore, a property developer said today. United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Charlie Chia Lui Meng said the group’s projects here, for example, has been receiving a lot of interest from the Japanese that subsequently translated into sales. Citing the landed properties in Sapphire 8, Bandar Seri Alam, he said 75 units had been sold to the Japanese. “From our purchase profile, they (Japanese) are actually young tenants. They are going to bring their family here. Most probably because of better environment and is closer to Singapore,” he said to reporters when commenting on the trend in property purchases in Johor, here today. Another UMLand project that is currently being developed – Medini Lakeside, also saw a 30 per cent take-up by the Japanese out of the total 50 per cent that has been offered for sale. - See more at:

15 March 2015: Platts to introduce Straits benchmark to replace Singapore benchmark as Johor oil storage  terminals take off; Forest City project behind mass fish death farmers say; Singaporeans seek JB nursing homes

Pengerang gets big boost from Platts UPDATED: Mar 9, 2015 06:32pm; Oil pricing agency Platts said it is considering a proposal to reflect deliveries from Pengerang Terminal in southern Johor in its Singapore pricing assessments for middle distillates and gasoline.... This will be in addition to approved loading points outside of Singapore such as Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, Tanjung Bin and a few floating storage units, Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc, said in a note to its subscribers today.... Platts, which provides Asian benchmark assessments for most oil products traded in the region, is planning to change the loading points in its pricing assessments for fuel oil, gasoil, jet fuel and gasoline from July 1. It will introduce free-on-board (FOB) Straits benchmarks to replace the existing FOB Singapore benchmark, where traders will not have to specify a loading port at the time of placing a bid or offer in its pricing process and could include cargoes to be loaded from approved terminals in either Singapore or south Malaysia....; note: as Singapore runs low on oil storage terminal expansion space, Johor has come in to office terminals for global companies including Vopak, Trafigura and others. This is akin to what Tanjung Pelepas did to compete with PSA on container traffic, but perhaps the oil storage competitive move may prove to be quite successful. Platts is already shifting from its long standing Singapore benchmark price to a "Straits" price to reflect the growing popularity if oil storage terminals at Tanjung Bin and other sites in Johor.

 RM600 billion Forest City project behind mass fish death, say farmers BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS Published: 15 March 2015 6:27 AM; This is not the first time the area has been hit by mass fish deaths. In the past, locals have blamed Forest City’s land-reclamation works for the deaths, although the developer, Country Garden Pacific View (CGPV), has denied it. Previous episodes have also been attributed to plankton blooms, brought about by rapid changes in water temperature, poor water circulation, and higher than usual nutrient levels in the water. But the deaths in early March were massive, bringing up sea creatures from the depths such as sea horses and moray eel. A BBC report on March 6 said the scene on the beach looked like a "mass grave" and even after the first batch was cleared up, the next high tide brought in a new wave of dead marine life. Forest City will see four man-made islands built in the waters in Tanjung Kupang between southwest Johor and northwest of Singapore. The mixed-development project will include residential and commercial lots and is expected to take 30 years to complete....Residents near the area said this year’s mass fish deaths had even claimed bigger and more resilient fish, such as groupers and catfish. “From afar, I could see the dead fish begin to float to the surface. At first I only saw small fish, but when I went deeper in the ocean, I spotted big ones such as groupers, barramundis, also floating up. This went on until late in the night,” said marine coordinator Kamaruzzaman Mohd Yunus, 56. Kamaruzzaman, who preferred to be called Man Pendas, said unlike last year, when only farmed fish were affected, this year’s wave of deaths had also claimed the wild fish in the sea. “It could be due to the weather or the land-reclamation works, which have polluted the waters… there is definitely a link there,” he said..... Fishermen around Pendas, which is famous for its crabs, told The Malaysian Insider their haul had also reduced considerably. “At that time, I lost Many fish farmers in Kampung Pendas, Gelang Patah, are abandoning their business. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, March 15, 2015. RM1,000 in two weeks as I didn’t catch anything,” said Aziz Sulaiman, 67, who is usually able to earn up to RM2,000 a fortnight from the 20 traps he sets up. Another fisherman, who only wants to be known as Jai, said he normally catches 50kg of crabs a day, but his haul was reduced to 1kg to 2kg during that period. “A bucket of crabs is worth only RM15. When the fish died, I was only bringing back one bucket,” he said.... The company that had prepared the DEIA report had, however, apparently raised caution about the dredging and sedimentation caused by the project that would impact on the seabed, according to the New Straits Times, which had obtained a copy of the report. The paper said despite the mitigation measures to cushion the environmental impact, including the use of a “silt curtain” around the reclamation area, experts noted that more damage could be expected.

Sick, ageing Singaporeans pack JB nursing homes by janice tai AND toh yong chuan - The Straits Times/ANN  Updated: Sunday March 15, 2015 MYT 8:48:31 AM; SINGAPORE: In a quiet private estate within Taman Johor, a 30-minute drive from the Causeway, there is a large two-storey bungalow with high ceilings and a lush garden.... At first glance, it looks like a typical suburban residence. But it is really a nursing home, and Singaporean Andrew Tan is one of its residents.
The house is part of a cluster of 10 bungalows within the estate, making up the City Heart Care Nursing Home. "There are computers for me to check my Facebook page, my own TV to watch the news and I can even go to the coffee shop outside for noodles," said Tan, 43, who is paralysed from the chest down after a car accident 20 years ago. His family, who lives in Singapore, sent him there as his ageing parents no longer have the strength to care for him. After visiting more than 10 nursing homes in Singapore and Malaysia, the former electrical technician, who is single, chose City Heart Care as "it does not feel or smell like a hospital". "I also have my own room, which means I have privacy when my diapers need changing," he said.... He is one of a growing number of infirm Singaporeans who have been admitted to nursing homes in Johor Baru, where prices can be as low as half those in Singapore.... Tan's family pays $900 a month for a two-bedded private room. A similar room in Singapore would cost more than double.... The growing influx is convincing major nursing home players to expand in Johor Baru ........The space crunch in homes in Singapore is another reason more are heading across the Causeway. There are 10,000 beds now and the Health Ministry is pushing to increase this to 17,150 by 2020. Work on seven new nursing homes began this year.Operators said demand for nursing home space here will only grow, given Singapore's ageing population, creating a spill-over effect across the Causeway...........

27 February 2015: Masteel-KUB RM1.23 billion 37-year concession for intercity Iskandar rail system gets support letter; China developers downplay property glut fear saying new demand from China middle class "buy without any questions," villagers affected by Forest City project received RM3000 to RM6200 state agency compensation last year on earnings drop on reclamation works

Note: The Temasek move for geographic diversification up to Penang is raising antenna in KL circles. A specialist says: "Temasek signals a significant geographic diversification from Johor, while big job numbers creation announcements for Johor unfortunately still lag...." 

Steel mill boon for Masteel By: NG BEI SHAN Saturday, 21 February 2015; Masteel has been actively pursuing its proposed RM1.23bil intercity rail transit system in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, and is waiting for the final nod from the Government before proceeding... In fact, the company has not slowed down in its pursuit of the project and has even identified the train to be used for the rail project.... “Once the economic council approves the project, we are well on our way to roll it out,” Tai enthuses... According to him, the company and its partner, KUB Malaysia Bhd, are discussing a 37-year concession from the Government.... The project will be taken under a 60:40 partnership known as Metropolitan Commuter Network Sdn Bhd (MCN) between Masteel and KUB.... The business model will be sound with the income streaming in from three areas: rail passengers from the train operation, property development based on the 21 stations, and construction of the track, he explains.... MCN has received a support letter from the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and a review by the Unit Perancang Ekonomi Negeri Johor, as well as the presentation to the Transport Ministry and a meeting held by the Unit Kerjasama Awam Swasta. ...

Iskandar developers: China buyers will mop up excess unitsby Marissa Lee, The Straits Times; Monday, Feb 23, 2015; BIG-NAME Chinese property players in Iskandar say fears of a property glut in the development zone may be overblown. These developers argue that they bring with them fresh demand for the burgeoning number of new Iskandar homes from China's rising middle class. Said Country Garden Holdings sales and marketing general manager Nicholas Hum, referring to the company's projects: "We have one million owners in China, and it's like a fan club. Wherever we go, there are just buyers that buy without any questions." The Hong Kong-listed company has drawn some flak over its vast Forest City island project, being built on reclaimed land near the Second Link off Tuas.....

Housing glut worries over Johor's mega projects by Reme Ahmad and Rennie Whang, The Straits Times, Monday, Feb 23, 2015; MALAYSIA'S biggest reclamation project is raising concerns over a potential oversupply of homes in Johor, marine environmental damage in the Strait of Johor and the effect it may have on the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen. At Kampung Pok, tucked under the Second Link that connects Johor to Singapore, some residents are making known what they think of Chinese developer Country Garden's ambitious plan to raise four islands that total nearly three times the size of Sentosa at their doorstep. The massive site will house thousands of luxury homes, if artists' impressions provided by the developer are any indication. "Villagers protest that the route to Forest City passes through our area," reads a banner in Malay hung along the only road in the area.... The villages are bordered by mangrove swamps and the Strait of Johor on one side and hectares of mostly empty land in Nusajaya on the other. The edge of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia's biggest container port, is just 1km away. "Sure, there are concerns about the environment and the future, but things have cooled down as the developer has talked to us," said Mr Abu Bakar. Mr Abdul Malik Sabtu, head of the fishing community in southern Johor, said about 245 full-time fishermen received between RM3,000 (S$1,120) and RM6,200 last year through a government agency to compensate them for a drop in their earnings after reclamation work began last year....  "With all the new projects, I don't think it will be as easy to get tenants as before," said a Singaporean resident of Causeway View, an estate just 600m from the Causeway. He had previously bought a condominium unit in Johor for RM250,000 and rented it out, but he has since sold it. Recent changes to the vehicle entry permit, toll charges and the minimum property purchase price of RM1 million for foreigners are also a put-off, he added....
Note: screenshot of article with focus on graphic on Johor projects facing Singapore

10 February 2015: Hershey Senai plant due to open soon? 400 job openings

Hershey Company investment in Iskandar Malaysia to garner more job opportunities
 By Chuah Bee Kim - 8 February 2015 @ 5:42 PM; State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the move of the Hershey Company, which has invested in a RM816 million confectionary manufacturing plant at the Senai Free Trade Zone and Greenland Malaysia to develop the first coastal luxurious condominium project sprawling close to seven hectares in Iskandar Malaysia with an expected gross development value of RM2.8 billion.....
Hershey names manager for new Johor plant Published: 24 February 2014 3:30 PM Subas joined Hershey in 2011 and has 20 years of manufacturing leadership experience.... During the remainder of 2014, Hershey will be hiring nearly 100 people to fill a range of key positions that are critical to the plant’s operations, including the plant senior management team, engineers, maintenance technicians and skilled specialists. Hiring will continue in 2015, when approximately 300 manufacturing roles become available....Hershey is working with Malaysian engineering firm MEI Project Engineers Sdn Bhd, and the team expects the construction project will be completed in early 2015 - See more at: - JOB OPENINGS - We're excited to announce that we have started hiring for more than 400 positions in 2014 and 2015.  The positions below represent some key roles that are open or will be opening in the next 12 months.
Hershey Building State-of-the-Art Confectionery Plant in Malaysia to Serve Asia Region - New Facility Will Support Growing Consumer Demand Across the Region; $250 million USD (RM816 million) plant is single-largest investment in Asia in company history... The new plant will include innovations in automated candy-making technology, including proprietary equipment and systems developed to Hershey’s specifications.... The plant’s capabilities will include high-speed wrapping machines featuring proprietary, specially engineered wrapping technologies.... The Malaysia plant investment continues Hershey’s ongoing modernization and expansion of its global supply chain to position the company for its next 100 years of growth. This includes the company’s “Project Next Century,” a $300 million investment in its manufacturing and logistics, which culminated with the opening of the world’s most technologically advanced chocolate making facility in the company’s hometown of Hershey, Pa.... After Hershey completes the building structure in early 2015, the Malaysia plant will be one of the largest facilities in the company’s global manufacturing network with 700,000 total square feet. The company has nine plants in the United States as well as facilities in Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil and China. The Malaysia plant will also have the capability to produce the broadest array of finished products of any Hershey factory outside of the United States and Mexico, including millions of Hershey’s Kisses each day.... The plant will produce four of Hershey’s five global brands, which include: Hershey’s Kisses, Ice Breakers, Reese’s and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. Hershey is expanding its global distribution of these brands as part of the company’s ambitious global growth vision to achieve $10 billion in annual revenue by 2017.... The company plans to hire locally to staff hundreds of plant positions as well as management roles.. With revenues of more than $6.6 billion USD, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names... HERSHEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 3, 2013-- The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) today announced it will build a new confectionery manufacturing plant in Johor, Malaysia, to meet the growing consumer demand for its products in its fastest-growing region.....

8 February 2015: Iskandar commitment on sustainable development - emissions reduction

Iskandar Malaysia declared as RCE by Bernama | Updated: February 08, 2015 JOHOR BAHARU: Iskandar Malaysia has been declared as the Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Development (RCE).... State Health and Environment Committee chairman, Datuk Ayub Rahmat, said Iskandar RCE is a platform to bring together individuals and organisations to promote sustainable development... "This recognition is a step towards ensuring that Iskandar Malaysia achieve 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emission by 2025" ....

30 January 2015: PAS MP asks why Perkasa silent on Iskandar Malaysia sold to Singapore, Taiwan, HK nationals; Temasek (a big investor in Iskandar) also goes big time to Penang with RM11 billion GDV project for 25k-30k jobs; rapid growth at Iskandar Malaysia contributed to property price rises with housing affordability worsening (Sabah, Penang and KL worst)

Question: Why not these investments and jobs for Johor, rather than for Penang? Iskandar Malaysia's been terribly good at property projects, but specialists say that the long term job creation investments need a boost?

Why stay silent on Johor developments? PAS MP asks Perkasa By Zurairi AR  Published: January 29, 2015 01:15 PMUPDATED: January 29, 2015 01:49 pm; Khalid urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being extremists and deviants. — File picKhalid urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being extremists and deviants. — File picSHAH ALAM, Jan 29 — PAS MP Khalid Abdul Samad questioned today Malay rights group Perkasa’s silence over various development projects affecting the Malays in Johor after the recent flare-up against the Datum Jelatek project in Keramat.... The Shah Alam MP also urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being “extremists and deviants”, claiming their actions have painted a negative image of Islam....  “Why are they silent when there are worse actions being done in BN states?
“Iskandar Malaysia has been completed and sold out to Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong nationals,” Khalid told reporters here.... "Why are they quiet? Is there no Perkasa in Johor?”... Khalid also listed down the Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang and the 2,000-hectare man-made island “Forest City” as other developments which he pointed out have allegedly displaced many Malay villagers.....

Penang sees RM5bil investments from 4 China MNCs listed in US By: DAVID TAN
Thursday, 29 January 2015; GEORGE TOWN: Penang will see some RM5bil worth of investments coming into the state in 2015 from four multinational corporations (MNCs) involved in electronic-based manufacturing activities.... investPenang director Datuk Lee Kah Choon said these were only initial investments that would materialise over the next 12 months.... Declining to name the companies, Lee said these could be China companies but public-listed in the United States..... Lee said the Penang International Technology Park and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) projects in Batu Kawan and Bayan Baru respectively, would be jointly developed with Temasek Holdings and Economic Development Innovations Singapore and due for completion in five to 10 years...... “The projects has a gross development value of RM11.3bil and will generate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in the future,” Lee said.....

Housing affordability worsens with Sabah top of list, Penang, KL Thursday, 29 January 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Housing affordability, which is based on the ratio of average terraced house price to average household income, has worsened over the past five years, according to Rahim & Co, Chartered Surveyors Sdn Bhd.... In its survey of the Malaysian property market 2014/2015, the ratio increased from 3.4 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2012 and 2014.... “This essentially means that an average terraced house would cost an average household or family in Malaysia, 3.6 times its annual gross income.... “The least affordable terraced house in Malaysia in 2014 was recorded for Sabah (6.2 times), Penang state (5.9 times) and Kuala Lumpur (5.6 times). Sarawak was fourth with a ratio of 4.4 times,” the survey showed.... Rahim & Co, which is one of the largest real estate consultancy companies in Malaysia, also said in its outlook that transaction activities in the residential sector after expected to soften with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.
To recap, Rahim & Co said that over the past four year, property prices were fuelled by the nation’s development plans, investment concentration and also the rapid growth in Iskandar Malaysia.
“The cautious market sentiment echoes the state of property market in reaching its plateau and reconciliation period is expected in the near future,” it said......

18 January 2015: Kluang gets more development

Majupadu previews Newpark in Kluang 16 Jan 2015; KLUANG: Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd, a Kluang-based property developer, has announced the development of Newpark, the first eco-friendly real estate development in central Johor. “Newpark represents an opportunity to upgrade Kluang. Newpark will be the largest master-planned commercial project in Kluang,” said Majupadu founder and managing director Tey Ah Kau in a press release. “The location is very strategic, surrounded by large, mature housing estates, the Federal Building, the future Inland Revenue Board building and Intan (Institute Tadbiran Awam Negara). Access is just 10 minutes ...

15 January 2015: Forest City gets go ahead for 1,386ha after apparent policy flip-flop

In about-turn, KL approves bigger area for Forest City project Published: 4:00 AM, January 15, 2015 by THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER; KUALA LUMPUR — In an apparent reversal of its earlier reported stance, Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) has greenlighted the RM600 billion (S$228 billion) Forest City mixed-development project in Johor.... The decision comes barely a week after reports in Malaysia quoted the DOE as saying only a fraction of the project — 405ha, instead of the developer’s planned 1,386ha — would be given the go-ahead. Yesterday, however, the developer said approval had been given for 1,386ha — only a shade smaller than the original plan of 1,623ha.
The project, now divided into four reclaimed islands, instead of one huge island nearly three times the size of Ang Mo Kio as originally planned, will have a total size of 1,386ha — smaller than the 1,623ha proposed by the firm.... CGPV is a 66-34 per cent joint venture between China’s Country Garden Holdings and Esplanade Danga 88, whose main shareholder is the Sultan of Johor. Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) is also a partner... Fishermen and fish-farm operators have blamed land reclamation work for mass fish deaths in the area, but the developer has denied this.... The firm that prepared the DEIA report, however, had apparently raised caution about dredging and sedimentation caused by the project that would affect the seabed, said the New Straits Times, which had obtained a copy of the report and reported on it last month.....

13 January 2015: Residents relocated for PETRONAS RAPID project face swampy problems

Tilted houses, swamp land haunt Pengerang folk By Lee Long Hui 9:54AM Dec 31, 2014
SPECIAL REPORT Fear, worry and anxiety are the most common words used by the people of Pengerang in Johor to describe their state of life after being relocated for the RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project of the national oil and gas company Petronas.... The residents simply did not expect to face problems such as land subsidence and swampy soil in the area they were relocated to - Taman Bayu Damai - thereby bringing never-ending inconveniences upon them....

12 January 2015: Forest City denies limit to under 1,000 acres, Johor warns on middlemen-civil servants linkages, view on Malaysia property consolidation in 2015

Developer denies DOE limit on controversial Johor Straits housing project by The Malaysian Insider  - ‎Jan 5, 2015‎; The developer of the controversial Forest City in the Johor Straits has denied that the size of its housing project has been limited to less than 1,000 acres, refuting a report by The Malaysian Insider on the matter. Country Garden Pacific (CGP) View ...

Malaysia sets new development limits on Johor's Forest City project Published on Jan 5, 2015 1:42 PM; JOHOR BARU - China developer Country Gardens Holdings can only develop less than a quarter of its planned Forest City project in Johor Strait, under new limits set by Malaysia's Department of Environment.... The company was informed verbally about the new limits (405ha), Malaysian Insider has reported, after complaints from locals and the Singapore government over reclamation works in the narrow waterway between Malaysian and the city state.....

Don't collude with middlemen, Johor civil servants warned by The Star Online  - ‎Jan 1, 2015‎ 
Ismail hoped that Johor civil servants would provide efficient service and make Johor one of the most developed states in the country.... Ismail also called on local council presidents to check on their subordinates as the state government had also received reports of middlemen operating at local councils.... Ismail hoped that Johor civil servants would provide efficient service and make Johor one of the most developed states in the country. “We have the Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor and the multi­-billion ringgit oil and gas hub in Pengerang in Kota Tinggi. The two projects will be the main drivers of Johor’s growth in years to come,” added Ismail.... He said that with more domestic and foreign investors showing strong interest in the two projects, civil servants had to improve on their delivery system.... He reiterated that the state government had never appointed individuals or companies to represent agencies and departments offering services on­ behalf of the state government....

Year of consolidation for property sector by The Star Online  - ‎Jan 2, 2015‎; THE property sector is expected to slow down further this year following cooling measures and tougher lending conditions implemented in 2014. Although it has often been said that the Johor market is different from the rest of the country, due to the economic growth area of Iskandar Malaysia and the leverage provided by its proximity to Singapore, the feel-good factor which spurred sales and ...However, the rate of the slowdown may be cushioned with the continuous fall in the price of oil....  The changing dynamics of lower oil prices on the economy are still unravelling. But economists are not looking at any rate hikes for Malaysia in the near term, unless there are changes in the external sector, and this is something which will work well for the property sector.... While oil price is a factor, CIMB said the goods and services tax (GST) is another. In a report entitled “Property Development and Investment: Post GST Blues?”, CIMB Research head Terence Wong foresees a pick-up in buying momentum in the first half of 2015....

23 December 2014: Forest City land reclamation worries a possible negative on investor confidence? Cross border car fees tit-for-tat with Malaysia VEP to start mid-2015? EcoWorld in Iskandar.

Will Forest City issue affect ties with Singapore?  By SIM BAK HENG - 23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: JOHOR lawmakers fear that Malaysia and Singapore may be embroiled in a diplomatic row once the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) report of the controversial Forest City project is approved.... They are worried about the possibility of retribution from Singapore, citing the republic’s reclamation works in Pulau Tekong and Tuas more than 10 years ago as an example... Malaysia was prompted to file a case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) following Singapore’s actions then.. A state assemblyman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this could become a reality should the Department of Environment (DOE) approve the DEIA report.... “The Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on Environment was formed following the ITLOS decision on Pulau Tekong in 2004.... “I hope both governments can work together to resolve the Forest City reclamation issue.... “If it is brought to the ITLOS for arbitration, it can affect investors’ confidence in Johor and Iskandar Malaysia.” ....

‘Resolve VEP fee issue amicably’   23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore have been urged to discuss issues related to toll fees and the imposition of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee for the good of Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia region.... Pulai member of parliament Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was important for both sides to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the total impact that any increase by Singapore would have on Iskandar Malaysia.... “It is time for both governments to resolve this issue and work together for the long-term benefits,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.... Nur Jazlan, who is also Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, was responding to yesterday’s Singapore media report, which said its Ministry of Transport would be studying Malaysia’s move to impose a VEP fee of RM20 (S$7.55) for foreign vehicles from Singapore starting middle of next year.

Eco World Devt targets RM7b sales Wednesday, 10 December 2014; KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World Development Group Bhd posted earnings of RM7.18mil in the 13 months ended Oct 31, 2014 as the company remained upbeat about its prospects with four new projects.... Announcing its results on Wednesday, the property development company targets to achieve RM7bil sales over FY2015 & FY2016 with the current and new projects.... “For the upcoming financial year, the Group intends to launch four new projects – these are Eco Sanctuary in Shah Alam, Eco Terraces in Penang, Eco Tropics and Eco Business Park III in Iskandar Malaysia. Along with its existing projects in the Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia, the group targets to achieve RM7bil sales over FY2015 & FY2016,” it said....

22 December 2014: 2014 saw halving of property transactions; Johor freezes serviced apartments (they are mostly actually owner-occupied) on glut fear with 3.3x more units than needed? Johor to spur SMEs

Iskandar’s plunging fortunes; 8:27AM Dec 17, 2014 By Khairul Khalid; KINIBIZ This has been a year to forget for the Iskandar economic region in Johor. After much lauded growth in the last five years, led by a robust property market, cracks began to show in Iskandar this year. Bullishness about Iskandar’s property market has been replaced with a more cautious, sometimes even bleaker outlook.
 What is causing this dwindling optimism about Iskandar? For a start, the numbers don’t lie.
“In comparison to the first half of 2013, there was a drop of about 48 percent in terms of total transactions in the same period this year,” said V Sivadas, executive director of PA International Property Consultants based in Johor Baru (JB).  That is an alarming drop in sales by any standards. The fact that it is happening just when Iskandar seems to have picked up momentum in the last few years has rattled the market. According to Sivadas, this decline is across all sectors of the property market in Iskandar. “Our records indicate 5,419 total transactions in the first half of this year at a value of about RM3.7 billion. In comparison with the first half of 2013, there was a drop of about 48 percent in terms of total transactions and about 37 percent drop in terms of total value of transactions in the first half of 2014,” said Sivadas, who based his analysis on available records of properties sales within Iskandar Malaysia.

Freeze on serviced apartments in Johor Updated: Sunday December 14, 2014 MYT 7:46:05 AM JOHOR BARU: The state has rejected new applications to build serviced apartments; Mentri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin said this was to ensure that the property market would not be flooded by serviced apartments, especially in Iskandar Malaysia. “All new applications have been frozen,” he said.  “Those who have received their approval can continue with their projects,” he said at the ground-­breaking ceremony of affordable homes by state-linked PIJ Holdings Sdn Bhd at Jalan Datin Halimah here yesterday. Mohamed Khaled said construction of serviced apartments was not subjected to housing development conditions such as the providing of basic amenities such as schools, multi-purpose halls and places of worship..... Nowadays, such apartments were no longer rented out but owner-occupied. “Hence, developers should provide these amenities to buyers,” said Mohamed Khaled.....  It was reported that about 86,000 units of serviced apartments had been approved for the country’s first economic growth corridor until 2025.

Fear of service apartment glut by New Straits Times Online  - ‎Dec 10, 2014‎ 
A TOTAL of 86,000 units of service apartments which have been approved for construction in Johor, especially in the Iskandar Malaysia, is excessive, said Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin... He said, based on the Iskandar Regional Comprehensive Development Plan 2025, there would only be demand for 26,000 service apartments in the state until 2025....

Efforts for Johor SMEs to tap into Iskandar and Pengerang projects Monday, 22 December 2014
PUTRAJAYA: The Johor Entrepreneurial Development Centre (EDC) is spearheading efforts to spur the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by exploiting the spillover of the Iskandar and Pengerang development.... Johor Education, Information Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Md Jais Sarday said EDC would formulate a five-year strategic plan to assist SMEs in seizing opportunities.... “The plan is expected to be unveiled under the Johor Strategic Growth Plan in the first quarter of next year,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by EDC and SME Corp Malaysia.... Jais said although Johor had the third biggest number of SME companies after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, their contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) was merely 8.4% compared with that of Selangor (28.3%) and Kuala Lumpur (29.1%). He attributed the low percentage to Johor SMEs’ concentration in the services and agriculture sectors, apart from financing constraints....

17 December 2014: Shanghai's Greenland plans 52ha Iskandar Malaysia project

Greenland 21 for Iskandar Malaysia?  By SIM BAK HENG - 16 December 2014 @ 12:14 AM;
SHANGHAI-based property giant Greenland Holdings Group is expected to replicate the concept of its flagship integrated development project called Greenland 21 at Iskandar Malaysia.... The Fortune 500 company is finalising the acquisition of a 52ha plot in Permas Jaya, Johor Baru, for the project. This waterfront project marks Greenland’s second venture in Iskandar Malaysia, after its low-density Jade Palace condominium development located at Danga Bay on the western side of the causeway.....

12 December 2014: Indonesia investors, Tanjung Langsat as largest private jetty operator

Will look for more info to update this.

Tanjung Langsat Port sees double digit growth in 2014 Thursday, 06 March 2014 | 00:00 Tanjung Langsat Port sees double digit growth in 2014; "After registering a healthy 47.7% growth of its total cargo throughput in 2013, Tanjung Langsat Port (TLP) in Johor is poised to see double digit growth in 2014.... “2013 was a milestone year for us; the 11.60 million metric tonnes in total throughput achieved last year elevated the port to the country’s largest “private jetty” operator,” said Johari Shukri Jamil, TLP Chief Executive Officer.... The two additional berths, which bring total liquid berths at TLP to seven, will provide an edge to current investors such as Dialog, MISC and PUMA that jointly operate Langsat Terminal One (LGT1) and Langsat Terminal Two (LGT2)..... TLP has a combined capacity of about 770,000 cubic meters for oil storage of which 100,000 cubic meters come from the port operator’s tank terminal.  LGT1 provides 476,000 cubic meters storage facilities for petroleum and naphtha while LGT 2 facilitates 171,000 cubic meters for gasoline. The remaining 20,800 cubic meters of edible oil is from Langsat Bulkers Sdn Bhd (LBSB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Felda Johor Bulkers Sdn Bhd. TLP continues to receive strong interests from independent oil storage operators and oil traders to set up their operations in the port.....the new port users of Malaysia’s largest “private jetty” will include Turkey’s Evyap Inc, one of the world’s leading soap and personal care products manufacturers; Singapore’s KTL Offshore Pte Ltd which operates one of the world’s largest rigging facilities; and Musim Mastika, a subsidiary of Musim Mas Group, one of the largest edible oil producers from Indonesia...."

Projects In Iskandar Malaysia Open Up New Opportunities For Indonesian Investors BY BERNAMA  /  News  /  Source  /  Top Stories March 19, 2013 by BERNAMA Subeditor; "To date, Indonesian investors in Iskandar Malaysia included Sinas Mas, which invests in leisure and tourism development in Senai; Musim Mastika in the production of palm oil industrial cluster in Tanjung Langsat; Mulford Plastics in plastic moulding manufacturing in Pasir Gudang; and Delphi Cocoa that manufactures cocoa-based food products in Pasir Gudang....Ismail said the total investments by Indonesian companies in Iskandar Malaysia now stood at less than RM1 billion...."

22 November 2014: Johor nuclear plants & Malay Reserve land questions, Iskandar plan 2014-2025, 25 hospitals for Iskandar, film production hopes, Economist says "early optimism is fading"

DAP rep claims two nuclear plants being planned for Johor;  Updated: Wednesday November 19, 2014 MYT 7:38:35 AM; AN Opposition assemblyman has claimed that two nuclear plants will be built by the Federal Government in Johor within the next eight years... Tan Chen Choon (DAP-Jementah) alleged that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong had made a statement to that effect. He claimed that Mah had stated that the Federal Government was in the final process of drafting the Control of Atomic Energy to enable the project to get off the ground.
“The nuclear power plant costing RM21.3bil was announced by the Federal Govern-ment in June, 2010, under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) where seven locations were identified in several states including Kedah, Perak, Terengganu, and two in Johor,” he said when debating the state Budget at the state assembly yesterday.... Earlier, Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin had quashed claims that the size of Malay Reserve Land in the state had shrunk, particularly in areas where developments are taking place in Iskandar Malaysia. He said the claims were untrue as such lands are protected under the Malay Reserve Enactment 1936 and Federal Constitution. He said under such laws if the land owners wanted to cancel its status with an excuse for development, the person must replace it with another plot of land with same value or size. He said based on the current data, Malay Reserve Land had increased from 87,563.6ha in 1957 to 432,157ha in September this year. “This shows that there is an increase in the size of Malay Reserve Land to 279,744ha or 18.2% since our country gained independence 57 years ago. In Johor Baru and Kulaijaya alone, which is under the Iskandar Malaysia area, lands gazetted as Malay Reserve have also increased to 23,517.37ha this year from a mere 1,921.4ha in 1957,” he said.... Mohamed Khaled said under the Enactment, the state government agreed to enforce a ruling to seize any Malay Reserve Land that had changed ownership to non-Malays....

Comprehensive Development Plan for Iskandar Malaysia approved; 2014-11-07 11:28; KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Bernama) -– Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced the approval of the 2014-2025 Comprehensive Development Plan for Iskandar Malaysia. Najib, who is also finance minister, said the announcement was made at the 16th Iskandar Regional Development Authority Advisory Council Meeting today. "Since January 2014, it is encouraging to note that Iskandar Malaysia has successfully attracted new investments worth RM24.97 billion. "In committed investments alone, Iskandar Malaysia has secured RM156.51 billion since 2006, of which 51 per cent or RM79.17 billion has been realised to date," he said in his latest Facebook entry tonight....

Iskandar Malaysia to have at least 25 hospitals Updated: Sunday November 16, 2014 MYT 10:03:15 AM; NUSAJAYA: More foreigners, especially from Singapore, are expected to come to Iskandar Malaysia to seek medical treatment with the setting-up of at least 25 hospitals, including private specialists centres by 2016. One of the health industry members involved – IHH Healthcare Bhd – has invested over RM400mil for the first phase of its Gleneagles Medini Hospital here.  Its CEO and managing director Dr Tan See Leng said that the 300-bed hospital, which is set to open its doors to the public by June next year, would have an initial capacity of 148 beds “With the setting up of the hospital right at the heart of the Iskandar region here, we hope to attract foreigners, especially Singaporeans to seek medical treatment at our hospital. “The rates will be relatively cheaper for Singaporeans to get medical treatment in Johor Baru compared to what they will be paying in the republic,” he said...

Pinewood Iskandar eyes foreign investments in film production by kathleen ann kili at the johor state assembly in nusajaya; Updated: Monday November 17, 2014 MYT 8:53:52 AM; THE creative industry in the state is expected to boom with Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS) targeting to attract RM1.9bil in foreign production investments and create some 11,300 freelance jobs until 2020. “Investors can look into areas such as pre-production, production, post-production, distribution and marketing, logistics, food, equipment rental, construction materials, hospitality and other services,” said Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong. In efforts to further enhance the industry, Tee said a state-level organisation – Filem Johor – had been set up to promote the state as an international film destination. “Filem Johor is dedicated to managing and facilitating enquiries and preparations needed to speed up film production processes. “Besides that, we also have MaGIC-X, which is a ‘gamification’ centre to support individuals or SMEs to market their commercial products,” he added....

Johor to redevelop idle, underutilised govt land, buildings by Bernama; Posted on 4 November 2014 - 05:36am; JOHOR BARU: The Johor state government plans to rejuvenate and redevelop idle and underutilised government land and buildings through public-private partnership (PPP) model as part of the Johor Baru transformation programme. Mohamed Khaled, who is also co-chairman of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), said there was also an increasing need for social-focused PPPs in the areas of affordable housing, education, healthcare, youth development and other public facilities.... The PPP projects that are currently in the pipeline for Iskandar Malaysia include the much-needed Bus Rapid Transit project which would help boost the public transportation system within Iskandar Malaysia," he said. The PPP conference 2014, which is jointly organised by IRDA and Johor Economic Planning Unit, attracted over 300 participants from both the public and private sectors...

Malaysia and Singapore: Milking it - Old enmities plague a crucial partnership; Oct 25th 2014  | JOHOR BAHRU; The Iskandar plan started brightly, with some $40 billion of private money, according to local bigwigs. Legoland Malaysia, which opened in 2012, anchors a busy entertainment district; an outpost of Marlborough College, a posh British school, has helped launch a much-vaunted educational cluster. Though retaining the some of the air of a frontier town, Johor Bahru is scrubbing up.... Yet early optimism is fading. Housebuilding appears to have raced ahead of job creation, and a housing glut looms. Not all Johoreans are happy with the suspension of corporate-ownership rules that elsewhere favour the ethnic-Malay majority. A battering in last year’s general election has made it harder for the Barisan Nasional, Malaysia’s ruling coalition, to ignore their concerns. Singapore hints that foot-dragging is slowing down plans for a cross-strait rail link...

22 October 2014: Who benefits?

About two weeks ago, I spoke to a friend who keeps an eye on some Iskandar property prices - notably the high-end (high rise integrated developments) Puteri Harbour area. In recent years, prices went from some RM700 psf to RM1400-1600 psf. However, a recent launch offered some investors early access to larger units at some RM900+ psf. Prices making a big up and down?


After 8 years, who does Iskandar Malaysia really benefit? BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA Published: 21 October 2014; "It was a mega-corridor meant to rejuvenate the state capital, Johor Baru, but eight years after it was launched, Iskandar Malaysia has come up short on its promise to give ordinary residents in southern Johor better jobs and better lives. This was the sentiment gleaned from a straw poll by The Malaysian Insider among two groups of people, ordinary residents and business owners in four locations in southern Johor –  Masai, Bandar Baru Uda, Bukit Indah and Kampung Melayu Majidi.... More than half of the 18 interviewees said that their lives had not changed for the better, even as Iskandar Malaysia seeks to transform southern Johor's physical and economic landscape.
About two-thirds of the businesses surveyed said that they had not felt any spillover effects, in terms of money-making opportunities or profits.... This is after the initiative has brought in RM156.35 billion in investments since 2006 according to an October 18 report by state news agency Bernama. Yet, many respondents remain optimistic about Iskandar Malaysia, with a majority in both groups saying the initiative was, on the whole, good for southern Johor.... But this optimism was heavily tempered with intense frustration at the rise in the cost of living and the price of houses. There is also a growing sense among residents that the rich and connected would get the lion’s share of benefits from Iskandar Malaysia while everyone else would get the table scraps......"

Iskandar Malaysia to receive another ‘big’ investment Published: 18 October 2014; "Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Iskandar Malaysia is expected to receive another 'big' investment, which will continue to strengthen the region's image as an attractive investment destination in the country. Mohamed Khaled however declined to comment further on the investment. "We have to wait for the announcement of the big investment as it is the federal government's project. I expect the announcement will be made soon," he told reporters today..... He said with the inflows of local and foreign investment, Iskandar Malaysia is expected to create 1.5 million high-income jobs in 2025...."

Iskandar secured RM10b investments in third quarter, October 16, 2014; JOHOR BAHARU — Iskandar Malaysia has secured investments worth RM10 billion in the third quarter of this year, bringing the total cumulative committed investments since its inception in 2006 until Sept 30 this year to RM156.35 billion. Of the total cumulative committed investments, RM77.17 billion or 49 per cent represents investments that have been realised.... IRDA chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the creative sector continued to grow in the third quarter with an investment from Astro Production Sdn Bhd (APSB) through Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS)..."

Slowdown looming for Iskandar Malaysia by The Sun Daily  - ‎Oct 6, 2014‎; PETALING JAYA: "The property prices in Iskandar Malaysia (IM) are expected to stay weak and flat over the medium term as there will be more incoming supply ahead, whereas the Klang Valley's property market appears to be more sustainable, according to ...Malaysian developers are scaling back and slowing down on their new launches in IM hotspots like Danga Bay and Nusajaya-Medini, and shifting their focus to landed and industrial properties due to rising competition in the high-rise integrated property segment.
"We remain cautious about the increasingly crowded development space in IM. Oversupply of apartments/retail spaces in hotspots such as the Nusajaya-Medini and Danga Bay areas may cause a decline in property values over the medium term....The focus is now more on whether the demand for high-rise apartments and retail space can keep pace with the incoming supply (serviced apartments, hotels, offices and retail spaces) from aggressive launches by the Chinese developers over the past year (citing Maybank Kim Eng Research analyst Wong Wei Sum in a report last Friday)..."

25 September 2014: UEM Sunrise seeks to diversify earnings base from Iskandar, notes Selangor foreign purchase clampdown

UEM Sunrise to rely less on projects in Iskandar Malaysia Posted on 25 September 2014 - 05:38am  by Eva Yeong; "KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd plans to restrategise in terms of product offering and location, in order to reduce dependency on its projects in Iskandar Malaysia and spread out risks, said its managing director and CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib. "Our strategy is to diversify a bit. One of the concerns that people have about UEM Sunrise is the high dependency on our developments in Iskandar Malaysia. If you look at our landbank, perhaps just a bit more than 60% is actually in Iskandar," he told reporters at a briefing yesterday. "If there is an opportunity for us to diversify away, we can do some form of land swap or monetise some of this land that we have in Iskandar for an acquisition of land somewhere else in Malaysia or abroad, why not? It's something that we are willing to consider," Anwar said, adding that it is looking for opportunities in land banking both locally and abroad.... Meanwhile, the group is maintaining its RM2 billion sales target, despite having only achieved about RM560 million in sales as of end of August.... Izzaddin said 60% of this year's sales will come from projects in Nusajaya, 25% from Australia and the balance from projects in the Klang Valley.... On a separate issue, Anwar said the new minimum prices for foreign purchases in Selangor has created uncertainty within the market but the group is able to mitigate the risk as it has projects in other states as well as abroad. The Selangor state government, which has divided the state into several zones, has increased the minimum price for foreign purchases to RM2 million for certain zones, effective Sept 1...."

22 September 2014: Forest City - company claims support while villagers vent their anger

Johor villagers vent anger at mega reclamation project BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA Published: 21 September 2014 - See more at:; "Irate villagers of Tanjung Kupang in Johor vented their anger at the developers of the biggest land reclamation project in the state, arguing during a public dialogue today that it will lead to the loss of their land and livelihood. About 200 residents from about a dozen villages around Tanjung Kupang also accused the developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGP), of bulldozing the project through their area without their knowledge even though it could have a huge impact on their lives... The Forest City project will see four man-made islands being built in the waters in Tanjung Kupang between south-west Johor and north-west of Singapore. It was reported that the islands will have both residential and commercial lots and the project is expected to make a profit of nearly RM290 billion over the next 30 years for CGP. The Gross Development Value (GDV) will come up to RM600 billion... CGP is a 66-34% joint-venture between China’s Country Garden Holdings Ltd and Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd, whose main shareholder is the Sultan of Johor. Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) is also a partner in the project..... Explanations from the developer’s consultant that they had polled the opinions of 10% of the village’s population were disputed by the audience and the hall exploded in a hail of boos and shouts of “who did you talk to?” Forest City project director Datuk Zamani Kasim then claimed that there was a focus group meeting with village representatives in June where the community’s leaders had supported the project. But this further angered the audience who shouted back: “Who did you speak to?” and “What meeting?” The company claimed it had surveyed 100 heads of households in the village. The survey showed 69.2% had agreed to the project while 71.3% thought it had more positive than negative impact. CGP also claimed it had a focus group meeting with village heads and elders where they agreed to the project.... Anuar, along with some other residents, were unconvinced by the company’s promises that locals will benefit from more jobs, contracts and business opportunities once property construction began. “These promises had also been given to us by PTP (Port Tanjung Pelepas) when that was being built. Until now, they have not been fulfilled.” KPRJ executive vice-chairman Datuk Md Othman Yusof tried to calm the crowd and win them over with arguments that the people of Johor would benefit from massive project. But residents would have none of it and shouted that they still rejected the project. “You tell us we will benefit, but who are those homes you are building for? Singaporeans and foreigners, not Johoreans,” said a resident of Kampung Pok, who did not give his name. Another member of the audience attempted to get KPRJ to confirm or deny whether CGP had been exempted by the government from having to build affordable houses.... "

commentaries on the above article, snapshot at 11.30pm 22 Sept 2014:
+14 benardquek -95p · 10 hours ago I live here. Next to Lido beach, which is no more. I use to harvest clams and mussels during my free time. During my childhood, I remember having picnics by the seaside with my parents. My late grand father would even fish for food if he wanted to. He could have a rich catch of groupa, swimmer crabs and kembong. There was also a rich habitat for oysters in the old what do you find now? Country Gardens, Danga Bay and similar like places....all I see now are large cranes arched over the horizon, stacking up pillars for the nouveau rich who are to come, with the promise of high net worth and big spending. Johor Bahru is no more. It is destroyed for the sake of industrialisation. Time to move on people.

+89 1 day ago Singapore should do some reclamation at the same area too (since the country needs land), then the two countries will be separated by a "longkang" and pedestrians can just walk across a "papan" to reach the other side. No need to pay toll. Save money-lah.

+56 Rightospeak 129p · 1 day ago OMG, the greed of these developers and they are supported by the BN government! No wonder Singapore is protesting, because they are literally narrowing the strait and killing all the sea creatures living there. God and the people will have the final laugh for I foresee bankruptcy here. Just wait! There will a serious glut with no buyers when it's finished.
+64 drngsc 137p · 1 day ago Dear residents, please while you get angry, remember the people who sold you out for their own gains. Search the land office and the registrar of companies to see who are the shareholders of the company and who are the nominees. Remember remember remember. When GE 14 comes, you must know what to do. Did they care about your family, your livelihood? Did they care about you Johoreans? The Johore state government and their powerful associates will sell off all of Johore to foreigners for quick profit. Soon you can only see the tall buildings, your land would all have belonged to some one else. You will be strangers in your own land. Remember.

+90 sputjam 99p · 1 day ago Plenty of land in iskandar but they developer dowan to pay. Got state land,they sold it of to developers instead of building affordable homes for locals.

+76 smokinlala 153p · 1 day ago Now we know why BN lost Gelang Petah! With this rate, PR will have better chance in GE 14

-124 auchinaman 133p · 1 day ago There is a need to change...there is a need to accept PELBAGAIAN (Diversity) to achieve PROGRESS. I believe these villagers are too afraid to change, they are so used to the old comfort of their own. So the more advance party taking over their life sent shivers down their spines. This is also what is happening in Malaysia. When the capable seem to demand more to achieve progress, they felt threatened. Where as these people should change with the wind...let the capable to do the job and you share the benefit as a whole. This is what we call MERITOCRACY and the ONLY WAY for PROGRESS.