Malaysia: Najib rolls out special incentives for Forest City

AsiaOne 7 Mar 16;

DUTY-FREE zone status and other incentives were announced yesterday by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for the Forest City four-island project in the Strait of Johor with the aim of spurring business activities, local and foreign media reported.

One sweetener targets qualified companies or firms with Iskandar Development Region (IDR) status involved in tourism and Mice, education and healthcare, which would enjoy tax breaks if they set up shop in the mixed-use green development.

This is likely to be the largest in South-east Asia on completion, reported the Business Wire.

Mice - which means meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions - is a type of tourism which can spin off benefits for many sectors of the economy.

Forest City, a joint multi-billion-dollar eco-city project by China's Country Garden Holdings and Johor's Esplanade Danga 88, is within the IDR.

Tax incentives would also be granted to Green Developers and Green Development Manager, and there would no restrictions on company equity for foreign investors claiming corporate incentives, said Mr Najib.

The announcements were made in Iskandar Puteri at a grand ceremony for the official opening of the project by the Sultan of Johor.

"These packages are designed to ensure the success of the Forest City project based on its masterplan and target of becoming a smart and green city," the Bernama news agency quoted Mr Najib as saying.

He expressed hope that the incentives would be able to help contribute RM175 billion (S$59 billion) in foreign direct investments by 2035.

He said the city is expected to create 220,000 jobs for Malaysians in high-value sectors such as finance and e-commerce in the next 20 years.

The project, which began in 2013 and is about three times the size of Sentosa, is the first overseas venture of Country Garden.

Among the upcoming amenities in the city, which will likely take 30 years to complete, is its first duty-free shopping mall.

It is scheduled to open at the end of this year on Island 1.

Condominiums and high-rise coastal residences in Island 1 are already open to the public for previews and bookings.

Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has reiterated concern that land reclamation work for some Malaysian projects in the Strait of Johor has begun without the needed studies on potential environmental impacts.

The ministry did not name Forest City when it raised the issue again last month but it revealed that Singapore is analysing the environmental impact assessments report provided by Malaysia for the project.

The project's reclamation work near Tuas was suspended in June 2014 but Malaysia restarted it in January last year.

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Najib announces special incentives for Forest City project in Johor
NELSON BENJAMIN and YEE XIANG YUN The Star 7 Mar 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced four special incentives for the multi-billion ringgit mixed development project Forest City here including making the four manmade islands duty free.

He also announced special corporate tax breaks as well as tax breaks for those involved in tourism, education and healthcare sectors.

"The companies given the tax breaks will not be imposed with restrictions on foreign ownership of their company shares," he said, hoping that all these incentives are able to help contribute RM175bil in foreign direct investments by 2035.

He added that the project is expected to offer 220,000 job opportunities to Malaysians in the next 20 years.

Najib made the announcement during the launch of the project, which was officially opened by Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

The Ruler signed the plaque to launch the project, witnessed by Najib and Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the grand opening ceremony held at the Forest City sales gallery here Sunday.

Forest City granted duty-free zone status and corporate incentives to lure investors and tourists
Business Wire 6 Mar 16;
* Other sweeteners include corporate tax incentive for qualified companies or companies with Iskandar Development Region status involved in tourism and MICE, education and healthcare
* Corporate tax incentive for Green Developers and Green Development Manager
* No restrictions on company equity for foreign investors to claim corporate incentives
* Sales gallery of Forest City now open to public for previews and bookings

SINGAPORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Forest City [“森林城市”], Southeast Asia’s largest mixed-use green development and a joint venture project by Hong Kong-listed Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd [“碧桂园集团” or “the Group”] and Johor’s Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd [“柔佛人民集团”], has been granted a duty-free zone status and a slew of incentives by the Federal Government of Malaysia.

Southeast Asia's largest mixed-used green development officially open today.
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In announcing the incentives today at the grand opening ceremony of Forest City, Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak said, “To ensure the success of Forest City, I am pleased to declare duty free zone area at Forest City, enabling local residents, businesses and tourists to benefit from the work, live and play environment.” Other incentives that were announced include corporate tax incentive for qualified companies or companies with Iskandar Development Region status involved in tourism and MICE, education and healthcare, corporate tax incentive for Green Developer and Green Development Manager and a waiver on company equity restriction for foreign investors to claim these incentives. By 2035, Forest City is expected to create 220,000 jobs for Malaysians in the finance and e-commerce sectors.

His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johor, Chief Minister of Johor Y.A.B Dato’ Mohamed Khaled Nordin and several distinguished guests and business partners graced the event.

Being a green development, Forest City is also working with G-Energy, an international green consultant, towards achieving internationally-recognised GreenRE and Green Mark certifications.

In addition, Forest City has also achieved Iskandar Development Region (IDR) status development for tourism and MICE (meeting, incentives, conference and exhibition), education and healthcare sectors. The IDR status currently grants a five-year tax exemption or 100% investment tax allowance of the capital expenditure against 100% of statutory income.

Forest City has already signed several MoUs with globally renowned partners including Shattuck St. Mary’s School and UIW/Christus, the fourth largest medical group in the US, to collaborate on international schooling and to provide residents with world-class medical services.

Mr Mo Bin [莫斌], Chief Executive Officer of Country Garden Holdings, said: “With Forest City gazetted as a duty-free zone, it has boosted Forest City’s position as an international destination and put Iskandar Johor on the world map. It is also in line with our vision to enhance the prosperity of Forest City to upgrade the infrastructure within the region with the available incentives to help create a vibrant city.”

Among the upcoming amenities, the first duty-free shopping mall will be ready to welcome shoppers by end-2016 at the Fisherman’s Wharf on Island 1 of Forest City, which will carry a wide range of leading international brands and products. Another attraction will be a five star boutique hotel.

Under the Island 1 of Forest City, condominiums and high-rise coastal residences are now open to public preview and booking in Singapore, China and Malaysia. These condo units and high-rise coastal residences are exceptionally designed and are situated within leafy foliage corridors and car-free avenues with gated security. These contemporary-styled apartment ranges from 753 sq ft to 1,862 sq ft in size.

Datuk Md. Othman Haji Yusof, Executive Director of Country Garden Pacificview, said in his opening remarks: “This is a historic occasion not only for Country Garden, but also Malaysia, and most importantly for Iskandar and local people. We are confident that Forest City project will immensely benefit our local economy, creating jobs and new business opportunities for all.”

Forest City is Country Garden’s largest real estate project outside China, which bodes well with the Group’s internationalisation strategy to expand businesses overseas. The Group has also completed residential projects in Australia and Malaysia and is aiming to launch real estate projects in Indonesia and Vietnam in the near future. Recognised by the Guangdong provincial government as one of the top developers in China, the Group has delivered quality homes for more than three million residents globally since its inception in 1992. The Group currently has more than 300 projects globally.


‘Johor’s future is bright’
NELSON BENJAMIN The Star 7 Mar 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor is poised to be the next economic powerhouse in Malaysia after the Klang Valley, especially with four mega projects taking place in the state.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said among the schemes already underway were the multibillion-ringgit Forest City project, the High Speed Rail project between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the double-tracking project between Gemas and Johor Baru, and oil and gas ventures in Pengerang.

“All these projects, together with good planning not just coming from Putrajaya but at the district as well as grassroots levels, I am sure that Johor’s future is bright despite the uncertain global economy.

“Johor is an important state for the Government either politically or economically. And I do believe that the state is in good hands and its aspirations to become a new economic powerhouse will soon become a reality,” he said.

Najib said this in his speech before launching the Johor Strategic Economic Growth Plan (PPSJ) and Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan ii (CDPii) at Educity Indoor Stadium here yesterday.

He pointed out that statistics from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority had shown Johor to be the highest-ranked in Malaysia last year with RM31.1bil in investments in the manufacturing sector, which contributed to 41.6% of the country’s overall investments.

Najib also expressed confidence at Iskandar Malaysia’s growth as the southern corridor had brought in investments of more than RM200bil since its inception in 2006.

He, however, said that focusing on one area for development would result in economic injustice to other districts as “no group or individual should be left behind to enjoy the growth in Johor”.

Najib added that he supported the intervention by the state government to introduce the PPSJ, where all 10 districts would be able to gain opportunities to attract new investments by promoting their unique products to a bigger market.

He noted that the Government had always stressed on programmes and initiatives that not only focused on physical development but also on the rakyat.

“The people must be at the centre of development to ensure they enjoy the growth as well.

“Inclusive planning is important. Engaging with the rakyat will let them understand that big investments bring in many jobs, which then lead to economic growth and government allocations for the rakyat’s benefit.

“I do not want the people to support me because I am the Prime Minister but to support the plans that we have made based on the needs of the rakyat,” he said.

Najib: Johor to be new economic powerhouse
NELSON BENJAMIN and MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 6 Mar 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Four mega projects in the state are expected to help propel the state into a new Malaysian economic powerhouse, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).

He pointed out that there were several mega projects underway in the state, including the multi-billion ringgit Forest City project, the High Speed Rail project between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the Double Tracking project between Gemas and Johor Baru and Pengerang oil and gas hub.

Najib said this in his speech during the launching of the Johor Strategic Economic Growth plan (PPSJ) and Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan ii (CDPii) at the Educity Indoor Stadium here.

He added that statistics showed Johor ranked the highest in the country last year with RM31.1bil investment in the manufacturing sector, which contributed 41.6% of Malaysia’s overall investment.
He also expressed confidence with the Iskandar Malaysia's growth as the growth corridor has brought in RM200bil in investments since its inception in 2006.

"I believe that Johor’s future economy is in good hands with these projects which will certainly change the state into new economy powerhouse in the country," said Najib.

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