Iskandar Malaysia: Is there a Silver Lining Among the Ominous Clouds?

By Ryan Khoo / Alpha Marketing, The Edge Property | May 28, 2015 9:00 AM SGT
Is the worst over for Iskandar Malaysia? As highlighted in my previous article, Iskandar Malaysia’s property market has taken a huge image beating in 2014 and confidence is at its lowest ever. Despite the recent negative media coverage, there are actually several positives looming on the horizon.
The High Speed Rail (HSR) linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore remains the biggest catalyst to enable Iskandar's population boom. Singapore has about 5.5 million as at June 2014 and Klang Valley another 8million today. Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and the rest of Johor which are all linked by the HSR would make available another 2million people in addition to the estimated 1.8million in Iskandar Malaysia today. This rail connectivity is important to draw population growth to Iskandar Malaysia. Those who question Iskandar's 3mil population target by year 2025 would do well to remember that Shenzhen in southern China also experienced a huge population boom when it was turned into a special economic zone. Today many Chinese who live and work in Shenzhen are not Shenzhen natives and in fact came from other parts of China due to the many job opportunities created there corresponding to the expansion of the high speed rail networks in China. The HSR together with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) MRT linking to Singapore at Woodlands are important as they facilitate mass population movement, a key ingredient in making the city more accessible to Singaporeans and other Malaysians whom today may find living in Iskandar a chore (due to heavy traffic on the 2 bridges with over 700,000 vehicles monthly) and simply because it takes too much travelling time from their current work environments.
The HSR detailed announcements are due in Q4 2015, with the alignment apparently close to finalization and both governments currently discussing the financial models for the project. The Japanese and Chinese are both tipped as the frontrunners to build the HSR, with financing schemes packaged together as well. The Malaysian parliament has recently approved the setting up of MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd, the company that will undertake the construction of the HSR with an initial paid up capital of RM10million.
Ascendas and UEM's first business park in Malaysia, Nusajaya Tech Park will open its doors in late 2015, the first phase of a massive 500 acre business park run by one of Singapore's most recognizable business space providers. Telekom Malaysia has already shared plans to build...