SINGAPORE: A Malaysian Member of Parliament said on Sunday (Nov 19) that the centre for the joint special economic zone between Singapore and the state of Johor (JS-SEZ) should be located in Pasir Gudang.
Mr Jimmy Puah Wee Tse, the MP for Tebrau, is quoted in The Star as saying that the development plan for the JS-SEZ should not be focused on a certain development area and should be proportionate. The main industries in Pasir Gudang, a city in Johor Bahru, are oil palm storage and distribution, transportation and logistics, shipbuilding, petrochemicals and other heavy industries.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the JS-SEZ has been eyed for the beginning of next year, on Jan 11, 2024. The JS-SEZ is under the purview of the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), which has Industrial Cooperation, Immigration, Transportation Links, Innovation, Tourism, and Environment Work Groups.
A progress update was provided by the task force at the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat, which was held in Singapore on Oct 30.
“The JS-SEZ will tap into the complementary strengths of both countries to foster economic connectivity by improving cross-border flows of goods, investments, and people,” said Prime Ministers Lee Hsien Loong and Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a statement issued after the retreat.
The Tebrau MP noted on Sunday (Nov 19), after officiating at the Mah Sing Group Berhad (Mah Sing) M Minori Sales Gallery ceremony in Wisma Mah Sing, Taman Austin Perdana, that the Malaysian government had already set up Forest City, located on the western side of Iskandar Malaysia, as a special financial zone.
“So I hope that the government could review my suggestion of placing this new SEZ in Pasir Gudang. It already has the amenities and industries like in Tanjung Langsat, and we are also closer to the oil and gas industry in Pengerang,” he added.
Pasir Gudang’s main industries are located at Johor Port and Tanjung Langsat. Mr Puah added that the focus had been finding ways to ease business and cutting ted tape.
“We have many things coming to Johor next year, starting with the SEZ, followed by the Gemas-Johor Baru Electrified Double Track in 2025 and the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) in 2026. We also have the Iskandar Rapid Transit project and the upgrade of the North-South Expressway from Yong Peng to Senai from the current four lanes to six lanes,” the MP is quoted as saying in The Star.
PM Lee has called the JS-SEZ a “substantial and promising project” and added that special tax arrangements and other initiatives might be part of the agreement to improve the flow of goods between the two nations. He also hoped for easier and better arrangements for workers to cross borders. /TISG