CEO: IIB to strongly focus on ‘Next’

Report: Businesses in Johor’s Iskandar Puteri hurting from lack of Singaporean, Chinese tourists
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PETALING JAYA: Iskandar Investment Bhd is optimistic about the business prospects in 2021 after an uncertain 2020 as the company plans on new businesses, including renewable energy, digital economy and smart farming.

President and chief executive officer Datuk Ir Khairil Anwar Ahmad said the company has launched Iskandar NEXT (Iskandar New Economic Experience and Talent) initiative in October last year to boost digital innovation emerging economics and talent development in Iskandar Puteri.

“This is a new initiative that we are going to push hard in 2021 because we want to promote and develop digital ecosystem including investment by other companies.

“Our objectives is multiple. We want to promote the digital economy in Iskandar Puteri, because it will help create jobs, secondly it will help also to attract other investment, and thirdly we want to develop knowledge for Iskandar Puteri, for Johor and for the nation,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview here, recently.

Besides that, Khairil said the company is exploring smart farming initiative in Iskandar Puteri in 2021.

“We still have quite a bit of vacant land that and we are not planning to do much development in the near future.

“Traditionally we invest in property development but as you may know there is quite some of overhang issue in the area, so we think that we should monetised this land for other purposes for the time being.

“In the short term, and obviously the food security is something that the current state government is concern about, we are exploring the opportunity in smart farming.

“We have some proposal to do and are still thinking about the types of crops or vegetables that we can grow there and also the potential for exports to Singapore. These are some of the things that we are looking to undertake in 2021,” he said.

On January 22, Prime Minsiter Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Iskandar Malaysia should explore the opportunities in modern farming as it could be a key contributor towards the country’s national food security agenda.

“With plenty of land areas and investors’ interest in the region and a well-coordinated effort with relevant government ministries and agencies, implementing modern farming could turn Johor into the biggest food producer in the country,” he said.

For the 2020 financial year, Iskandar Malaysia is expected to record a cumulative investment of RM24 billion, with 75 per cent of investments deriving from foreign investors and 25 per cent from domestic investors.

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