Iskandar Malaysia (IM) (Jawi: إسكندر مليسيا) formerly known as Iskandar Development Region (IDR) (Malay: Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar Jawi: ولايه ڤمباڠونن إسكندر) and South Johor Economic Region (SJER) is the main southern development corridor in Johor, Malaysia. The Iskandar Malaysia was established on 8 November 2006. The project is administered by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and was named after the late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.
The development region encompasses an area of 2,217 square kilometers covering the city of Johor Bahru and the adjoining towns of Pontian, Senai, Pasir Gudang and the construction of a new administrative capital in Nusajaya. Johor Bahru District is included in its entirety, as are parts of the district of Pontian. Five local government authorities have jurisdiction over the covered area, including Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (Johor Bahru City Council), Majlis Perbandaran Johor Bahru Tengah (Johor Bahru Tengah Municipal Council), Majlis Perbandaran Pasir Gudang (Pasir Gudang Municipal Council), Majlis Perbandaran Kulai (Kulai Municipal Council), and Majlis Daerah Pontian (Pontian District Council).
The special economic zone of Iskandar Malaysia grew out of a 2005 government requested feasibility study by the Khazanah Nasional which found that the development of such a zone would be economically, socially and developmentally beneficial. The National SJER Planning Committee (NSPC), hearing Khazanah's findings, put it in charge of developing a sustainable, holistic approach to development in the region. Iskandar Malaysia was singled out as among the high-impact developments of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, put into action by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia (Abdullah Badawi) in March 2006 to cover the period of 2006 to 2010. In November 2006, the Prime Minister, Chief Minister of Johor, Abdul Ghani Othman and Khazanah revealed the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).
Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP)
Under the plan, five "Flagship Zones" in the 221,634.1 hectares (2,216.3 km²) of land covered are identified as developmental focal points. Four of these Flagship Zones are found in the "Special Economic Corridor" (SEC) of Nusajaya-Johor Bahru-Pasir Gudang. The corridor—which includes the significant ports of Tanjung Pelepas, Pasir Gudang, and Tanjung Langsat— is prioritized for development in the CDP, with particular focus on Nusajaya. The CDP originally included "Free Access Zones", but these were dropped from the plan in 2007.
Johor Bahru City Centre is Flagship Zone A, including development of a new financial district, the central business district, the waterfront city of Danga Bay, a mixed development in Tebrau Plentong and the Malaysia/Singapore Causeway.
Flagship Zone B is Nusajaya, with planned development of the new Johor state administrative centre, Medini Iskandar Malaysia, a medical hub, an "educity", a resort for international tourism and an industrial logistic cluster and residence like East Ledang, Puteri Harbour, Horizon Hills and Bukit Indah.
Flagship Zone C, the Western Gate Development, focuses on the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), providing a second transportation link for Malaysia/Singapore, a free trade zone, the RAMSAR World Heritage Park and the Tanjung Piai.
Flagship Zone D, the Eastern Gate Development, focuses on the Pasir Gudang Port and industrial zone, Tanjung Langsat Port, the Tanjung Langsat Technology Park and the Kim-Kim regional distribution centre. In the final Flagship Zone, Senai-Skudai, development is focused on the Senai International Airport, hubs for cargo and knowledge, a multimodal centre and the MSC Cyberport city.
The economic growth plan of the CDP consists of two components, a Strategic Economic Thrust (SET) for immediate implementation and a Future Growth Scenario, 2005-2025, for long-term application. Both of these were developed in mind of the region's economic strengths in manufacturing and services, with 60% of value-added manufacturing derived from electrical and electronic (E&E), chemical and chemical products (petrochemical, plastics, oleo chemicals) and food processing sub-sectors. A number of service and other manufacturing areas have emerged in support of these. The SET focuses on such factors as strengthening existing economic sectors and encouraging diversity, through incentives, stronger international ties, and proper allocation of resources and space. The Future Growth Scenario is aimed towards strengthening the economy internally and internationally by such factors as improvements in global transportation and developing manufacturing and service clusters. Also promoted by the Future Growth Scenario is the encouragement of the immigration of skilled, monied foreigners to help develop an international lifestyle attractive to foreign workers and investors. The targeted foreign and local investments for the IM is US$ 100 billion.
Part of the CDP includes attention to quality of life of residents with emphasis on functional, liveable communities that promote social wellbeing. Among the components of this plan are factors designed to integrate various members of society into a cohesive whole while also ensuring that the needs and wishes of special populations are met, such as reducing marginalization by mixed-cost housing communities, promotion of a sense of communal belonging, ensuring that adequate rental homes are provided for transient populations, monitoring the housing requirements of those with special needs, and ensuring that accessible housing is available to the disabled. Residential plans also include guiding residential development to minimize crime and maximize energy efficiency, through the application of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) guidelines and the implementation of a "Green Building" rating.
Physical Development Plan (PDP)
The Physical Development Plan (PDP) was designed to guide the development of land within Iskandar Malaysia to help promote the CDP's overall goals of economic development and quality of life. To that end, the CDP includes two major subdivisions among land zones, "Basic Zoning Districts" and "Special Overlay Zones".
There are several dozen primary "Basic Zoning Districts" governing the use of land in commercial, residential, industrial and other sectors, including determining the density of development and what mixed use may or may not be allowed. Initially, the "Basic Zoning Districts" also included a "Free Access Zone (FAZ)" which would have permitted work, business, entertaining & residence between Johor and Singapore, but these zones have subsequently been disallowed. Also governed by the "Basic Zoning Districts" are such special use zones as green space, wetlands, cemeteries and governmental developments.
"Special Overlay Zones" are areas that require exceptional treatment. For example, the "Johor Bahru CBD" allows exceptions to general commercial plot ratio and height because the zone is the commercial and financial centre of Iskandar Malaysia and the capital city of Johor. Similarly, the "Nusajaya Central Planning Area" is given special handling. Other "Special Overlay Zones" cover environmentally sensitive areas, historic areas, coastland, development around highways and rail stations and the "Water Catchment Zone" around the Sutlan Iskandar Dam.
The commercial focus of the CDP is on six services identified as "pillars", including creative, educational, financial, healthcare, logistics and tourism. The CDP included the establishment of the Iskandar Investment Berhad (formerly the South Johor Investment Corporation Berhad), a commercial investment holding company created to oversee and encourage regional development. The CDP promotes the "Strategic Catalyst Development" goals of developing waterfront areas, promoting tourism, expanding healthcare and iconic areas, and mixing commercial and residential development.
It also incorporates a "Business Incentives and Support Package" (ISP) discussed by Prime Minister Badawi on 22 March 2007 which allows special incentives to encourage investment in certain concentrated hubs in the flagship zones. The specific zones involved were revealed in October 2007 and at that time included only Medini Iskandar Malaysia, which is a mixed-development zone incorporating leisure, residential, financial and high-end industrial components. Incentives include tax exemptions for qualifying companies for income from qualifying activities, exemption from Foreign Investment Committee rules, and flexibilities under the foreign exchange administration rules, including those restricting the numbers of "foreign knowledge workers".
- Northern Corridor Economic Region
- East Coast Economic Region
- Johor Bahru
- Ninth Malaysia Plan
- Sabah Development Corridor
- Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy
- New township planned for Malaysia's Iskandar economic zone, Richard High, 4 July 2008, KHL Group
- WPI kini Iskandar Malaysia, (Muka Hadapan), 11 April 2006, Utusan Malaysia
- Iskandar Regional Development Authority & Iskandar Malaysia Information Pack, 23 February 2007, Khazanah Nasional, pg 3, retrieved 3 March 2009
- Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan, Ministry of Information Malaysia, retrieved 4 March 2009
- Iskandar Regional Development Authority & Iskandar Malaysia Information Pack, 23 February 2007, Khazanah Nasional, pg 9, 13, retrieved 3 March 2009
- Free Access Zone under IDR scrapped, MEERA VIJAYAN, 5 April 2007, The Star (Malaysia)
- IDR not exempted from foreign workers ratio, Farik Zolkepli, 20 November 2007, The Star (Malaysia)
- Iskandar Regional Development Authority & Iskandar Malaysia Information Pack, 23 February 2007, Khazanah Nasional, pg 4, retrieved 3 March 2009
- IRDA Announces 10 Year Tax Relief For Developers In Node 1 of Iskandar Development Region, Iskandar Malaysia, 9 October 2007, Malaysia