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IRDA Is Sole Decision-making Authority Over Investments In IDR

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 - The Iskandar Regional Development
Authority is the sole decision-making body on all issues pertaining to
both domestic and foreign investments flowing into the region, Johor
Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said today.

"Be they local or foreign direct investments from all sources including
Singapore, it is the IRDA which will have jurisdiction over issues
pertaining to investments," he said.

Allaying concerns and some confusion that the proposed Malaysia-Singapore
ministerial committee on Singapore's participation in IDR could lead to
excessive focus on Singapore, he said the committee "is neither
consultative nor has decision-making powers in its role."

On the contrary, the committee will be optimising the synergies of growth
and investment in the region, he told Bernama when asked to respond to
such concerns.

It would facilitate economic cooperation between the two countries in the
development of the IDR, he added.

Despite such concerns, numerous quarters have welcomed the formation of
such a committee as it augurs well for increased commercial linkages
between Malaysia and the island republic.

The committee was announced after discussions between Prime Minister Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong,
in Langkawi earlier this week.

Although informal, the cordial talks were fruitful and successful, setting
the stage for taking bilateral ties, especially in economic cooperation
and development, to a significantly higher plane.

Elaborating on Johor's and Singapore's synergies and potential
complementarities, Ghani said: "By virtue of the location, the area
encompassing both IRD and Singapore is a region of growth and investment.

"We (IRDA) are not going to give up jurisdiction of the region."

IRDA is the statutory body responsible for overseeing the development of
the IDR, encompassing 2,217 sq km and covering five local authorities -
Johor Baharu, Johor Baharu Tengah, Kulai, Pasir Gudang and Pontian.

With a population of 1.4 million, IDR is three times the size of Singapore
and 48 times the size of Putrajaya.

IRDA's objective is to develop IDR into a strong and sustainable
metropolis of international standing.

It will also establish national policies, directions and strategies for
IDR, with studies showing that south Johor and its populace would
immensely benefit from the IDR initiatives.

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