Datuk Seri Najib Razak will become the new Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) co-chairman with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman when he becomes Prime Minister next month. Iskandar Investment Bhd managing director Arlida Ariff talks
Extracts from the interview with Iskandar Investment Bhd MD Arlida Ariff. Datuk Seri Naji Razak will become the new Iskandar Regional Development Authority co-chairman with Johor MB Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.
Najib has always been pro-Iskandar and this has been shown in his actions and words. Some of the deals that we have signed are projects that he had initiated.
So, investors, the business community and Johoreans in particular should not worry as the new administration will continue the unwavering support for initiatives in Iskandar.
Under the second economic stimulus package, Khazanah Nasional Bhd has been given RM1.7bil for infrastructure development projects in Iskandar for hotels, theme parks and universities.
Iskandar is a national interest project and since it was the first economic growth corridor launched in the country, Malaysians have high expectations that it will succeed as outlined under its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) 2006-2025.
Almost 28 months after its launch, Iskandar still receives unfavourable comments or criticism and many say that they have yet to benefit from it.
The last two years were more on the investment stage such as negotiating with investors, signing deals and agreements with them.
This year will see the implementation of the projects including construction of infrastructure development and properties, and some of them will take shape by 2012 and a few will be ready in 2015. Actually, benefiting from the implementation of the projects directly or indirectly are locals such as contractors, caterers and support services providers.
More job opportunities are needed when projects including hotels, universities, hospitals and theme parks are completed and ready to commence operations.
The problem here is we (IIB) talk more to business reporters, so ordinary citizens might not understand the long term economic benefits of Iskandar. The final and ultimate objective of Irda or IIB is for everybody to benefit from Iskandar whether you are a driver or a CEO of a multinational company.
No matter how good your intention is, people will still criticise and find fault. How are you going to deal with it?
I’m obviously the least politically astute person in this office and we remain supportive of the Government’s intention for the betterment of the people.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. IIB is committed to ensuring the success of Iskandar.
We’d rather have a groundbreaking ceremony and have the bulldozers working non-stop at the site after that. When we do a launch, it is for real. We have to answer to the Government and stakeholders; our credibility is more important.
Critics are still there, we cannot totally wipe them out. We just maintain a gracious silence and let the people judge whether we have done our duty.
Source : The Star