Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has revealed intentions to establish a special financial zone within Forest City, Johor, aimed at driving investment, growth, and economic activities. The move is expected to foster a more cost-effective business environment, offering incentives to attract potential investors. Anwar noted the strategic advantage of Johor’s proximity to Singapore and its well-developed infrastructure. He affirmed that the proposed zone aligns with the Madani Economy framework, emphasizing the unique synergy in Johor that can leverage Singapore’s accomplishments.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim elucidated that the design of the special financial zone seeks to mitigate business costs while enhancing overall competitiveness. Notably, the realm of tourism, education, and health management within the zone will be facilitated with reasonable operational expenditures. This concerted endeavor is underscored by Anwar’s dual role as both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister of Malaysia.
Of paramount significance is Johor’s strategic geographical location, adjacent to the bustling financial hub of Singapore. Anwar emphasized that this location, coupled with the region’s robust foundational infrastructure, possesses inherent potential to allure a stream of investors. He underscored the comparative advantage Johor holds, particularly in light of the high costs associated with conducting business in Singapore.
Citing the ethos of the Madani Economy framework, Prime Minister Anwar articulated how Johor’s unique synergy presents distinct opportunities for growth. He pointed out the potential to leverage Singapore’s accomplishments while addressing the business costs that often deter large corporations from establishing a presence.
Speaking during the Budget 2024 Johor State Tour at the Banquet Hall in Bangunan Sultan Ismail, Kota Iskandar, Anwar outlined the imperatives of timely implementation for the envisioned special financial zone. He called upon all relevant ministries, departments, and state governments to collaborate assiduously to bring the plan to fruition.
Underscoring the commitment to incentivize investment, Anwar introduced a range of privileges available within the special financial zone. These encompass the expansion of incentives in Iskandar Malaysia to encompass Forest City, featuring a notably reduced income tax rate of 15 percent for skilled workers and the introduction of multiple entry visas.
The endeavor in Johor holds particular significance, marking the second state after Melaka to partake in the Finance Ministry’s engagement sessions focused on gathering input for Budget 2024. The budget is slated for presentation in Parliament on October 13. This engagement session witnessed Anwar’s active participation, making it the first of its kind in connection with Budget 2024. Notable attendees included Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.