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Pushing for economic growth

Pushing for economic growth

26 Oct 2022

STRENGTHENING the Singapore-Johor-Riau (Sijori) economic growth triangle will help boost trade, cultural and tourism sectors while attracting more investors to the region.

Johor investment, trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Lee Ting Han said the Sijori initiative would allow the countries involved to leverage each other’s strengths and give investors confidence that the players were not in a head-to-head situation.

“For example, we note that both Johor and Batam are actively pursuing data centre investment at the moment, and certain companies have decided to establish their presence in both Johor and Batam as a result.

“Also, improving physical connectivity will create spillover and address the issue of uneven growth in the region,” he said when contacted by StarMetro.

For example, he said the Johor government sent a delegation to Batam in Indonesia about two months ago, headed by state tourism, environment, heritage, and culture committee chairman K. Raven Kumar and state health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon to promote health tourism.

“We will focus on tourism and healthcare as more and more Indonesians are travelling to Johor seeking medical treatment,” Lee said, stressing that there were huge opportunities for this sector to grow in the future.

He said Johor would also look at other areas such as the service sector, particularly data centres and manufacturing via free flow of goods, capital and data.

“However, these are federal matters, so it will depend on negotiations by the Federal Government,” he explained.

Lee also shared that Johor government would be looking into digital services and advanced manufacturing sectors involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals and the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry.

“Between 2015 and 2018, our focus was in oil and gas in Pengerang and Kota Tinggi but now we are looking at other sectors as well.”

He said this when asked to comment on a news report by The Jakarta Post that Indonesia was preparing to build more infrastructure to connect the island of Batam with Singapore in an effort to revive Sijori.

“Sijori is similar to the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), where Johor is also a member,” he added.

Johor and Singapore had already worked on strengthening physical connectivity through the Rail Transit System (RTS) Link between Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North and Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, said Lee.

“We are also discussing the possibility of providing a ferry service between Puteri Harbour and Singapore,” he said.

Source: The Star