Johor, once regarded by Singaporeans as a backwater haven for car thieves, is now considered a property investment hotspot and a beacon of cooperation between two former rivals – Malaysia and Singapore.
In fact, mega projects are sprouting across the Iskandar region and include the towering Astaka complex, which is expected to be completed by 2017. Expatriates working in Singapore are also snapping up properties in Iskandar due to its proximity and more affordable prices – a trend that has been sustained by soaring costs in Singapore.
For instance, Anthony Phillips relocated his family there as tuition fees are more affordable, housing prices are 50 percent lower compared to Singapore and travel time only takes 30 minutes.
“Last year’s move to Iskandar has been a great success all round. Iskandar offers the best of both worlds,” he said.
Moreover, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) announced that the region attracted US$40.5 billion worth of investment commitments by end-October.
Currently, the region is known for its Legoland theme park and premium outlet shopping, while ongoing projects include Pinewood Studios and EduCity, which is home to several prestigious European universities under one campus. A Singaporean-funded Motorsports City with a driving school and racing circuits is also under construction.
IRDA CEO Datuk Ismail Ibrahim noted that Iskandar now stands as a testament of Singapore and Malaysia’s growing ties.
“We like to describe our relationship with Singapore with this simple term: co-opetition -- we compete, but at the same time we cooperate.”