Tuesday, December 05, 2006

SINGAPORE No 3 in FDI in JOHOR due to “Mixed Signals” as alleged by Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong? MB Ghani denied SDR is “Anti-Singapore”

Of course MB Datuk Ghani Othman did not recall saying anything “anti-Singapore” when the SDR was launched but the Bumiputra contractor’s association came out with a statement that they must have the lion’s share in the SDR projects and as usual they must be given the preferences and waiting for the “handouts” to come from the government. They can do everything and want all the benefits without investing a single cent.

And the remarks by the Johor Sultan about not trusting “foreigners” are not helpful.

Speaking to Singaporean and Malaysian businessmen in Kuala Lumpur this week, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak called for both countries to set aside their differences and work towards strengthening economic ties.

Singapore’s Business Times:

Citing the much-improved relationship between the two neighbours, Mr Najib emphasized the importance of raising the political will on both sides to “work together where we can and accommodate each other in areas where we cannot. A marked departure from the more combative language so often heard from the previous administration, it was also a statement of confidence in his country’s ability to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, who was speaking at the same event, agreed.

In different ways, both leaders were highlighting the exceptionally competitive and challenging external economic environment facing their respective countries. The clear conclusion is that working as partners rather than rivals has never been more compelling. Fortunately, the conditions for working together have probably never been better.

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December 04, 2006 16:48 PM

Singapore Fallen Behind In Investment In Johor

JOHOR BAHARU, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- Singapore has fallen to third position, behind Holland and South Korea, in foreign direct investment in Johor over the past two years, Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said Monday. He said besides Singapore, the state was open to everyone from the whole world to invest in its most recent multi-billion ringgit development project, known as the Iskandar Development Region (WPI), which was launched last month. He was asked to comment on a statement by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday that there had been "mixed signals", particularly in Johor, about Singapore's participation in the WPI. "That is a wrong perception, WPI is not anti-Singapore. I'm surprised with (Lee's) statement and I have not made any statement on that," he said. Ghani added that although Johor had been receiving a lot of major investments from Singapore over the years, the WPI was open to everyone, including Singapore investors. "The WPI is a multi-sectoral development project that is open to investors from everywhere," he added.

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PM Lee Hopeful Mixed Signals From Johor Will Be Cleared; December 04, 2006 11:38 AM

SINGAPORE, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed a recent call by Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for closer economic ties between Malaysia and Singapore, but noted that there have been "mixed signals", particularly in Johor, about Singapore's participation in the state. Speaking at the People's Action Party (PAP) conference, Lee expressed the hope that it would be cleared up soon. "We hope that these mixed signals will be cleared up soon so that investments will flow," he said in a report by The Straits Times.

Last week, Najib told a Malaysia-Singapore business conference in Kuala Lumpur about the need for both countries to intensify cooperation if they want to survive in a competitive global economy. Lee said that he "agreed completely" with what Najib had said, but noted that the Johor government had expressed reservations about Singapore's participation in the development of an economic zone in southern Johor. Lee also said that relations with Malaysia had improved since Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became prime minister three years ago.

He noted that Abdullah had said that he would like Singapore to participate in the development of the special economic zone in Johor -- the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) or what is now known as the Iskandar Development Region (WPI). The WPI is a 2,200 sq km development in Johor which requires RM47 billion in investments to generate economic growth and activities over a five-year period between 2006 and 2010 and another RM335 billion over 15 years (2011-2025). Lee said Singapore businessmen, however, had been receiving "mixed signals" from Johor.

He acknowledged that from time to time there would be bilateral issues that needed to be managed but on the whole, relations were warm, the report said. "We are very lucky that many Malaysian companies have interest in Singapore, and I hope that many more Malaysian companies will come," he said in The Straits Times report.


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