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NEWS UPDATES 30 November 2009

Malaysia Iskandar unaffected by Dubai crisis

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The Malaysian state of Johor said its economic zone, which has the nation's largest number of Middle Eastern investors, should be unscathed by the Dubai debt crisis, AFP quoted reports as saying yesterday.

Dubai World, the city state's flagship conglomerate announced Wednesday that it was seeking a six-month reprieve from its $59 billion debt payments, sending global stocks into a nosedive on fears of a default.

The chief minister of southern Johor state, Abdul Ghani Othman, told the Star daily only one Dubai company, Damac Properties, had invested in the Iskandar special economic zone. "Since only one company from Dubai is involved in Iskandar, we don't think the Dubai financial crisis would have an effect on the regional growth area," he told the paper.

"Most of the investors in the growth area are from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi," he added. He did not say how much Damac had invested in Iskandar, where the firm is involved in a project on an eight-hectare site.

An aide to Abdul Ghani confirmed his comments to AFP, saying the Dubai firm had yet to begin operations in the area. He said total investment for Iskandar had hit $13 billion so far, with about 15 percent coming from Middle Eastern investors.

The Iskandar region will be Malaysia's largest economic zone upon completion in 2025, by which time the government hopes to have created 800,000 jobs and attracted around $100 billion in investment.


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