Thursday, April 05, 2007

Is The Government Already Backtracking On IDR Assurances?

Old habits die hard. That aptly describes the government's going back on the first of a host of pledges/assurances which were earnestly made recently regarding the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). TheStar update which follows explains all.

The proposed Free Access Zone (FAZ) under the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) has been scrapped.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that the issue of the FAZ did not arise at all as there was no reason for it.

"Earlier, there was a suggestion to have a FAZ where foreigners would be able to enter the area without Immigration clearance, but that plan has been scrapped.

"But we hope (entering Johor) will be made more easy, maybe through smart cards," he said.

Abdul Ghani refuted suggestions that the decision was made because of strong opposition to the idea from several parties or in response to the fear over the possible loss of state sovereignty.

"Not bantahan, not fear, nothing. We just see no reason for that particular area," he said.

He was speaking to reporters at a press conference after delivering his keynote address at the start of the two-day Iskandar Development Region: Planning and Investment Opportunities seminar at Persada Johor.

Abdul Ghani also said that Johoreans did not need to be concerned about the waiver of the 30 percent Bumiputera equity participation as it only concerned some 1,780ha of land in two areas - Nusajaya (Nord 1) and the area near the Danga development (Nord 2).

"Investment situated only in these two areas are eligible for the Incentive Support Package (ISP) and one of the conditions for investment here is that the investors must have business dealings with other countries, not within Malaysia," he said.

He also said that a meeting had been scheduled to address some 1,000 people including Bumiputera businessmen and Umno division chiefs on April 14 to further explain the IDR.

***** There were some who had their doubts about the government's steadfastness on the brave decision to free the IDR from unreasonable, choking regulations. These were not really concessions but essential requirements needed to make the IDR viable and competitive. But as we can see the bumi businessmen and Umno underlings won't have any of it. So what if the country doesn't excel or make it to the very top? As long as these greed mongers get their share of the largesse they will settle for fiftieth or even fifth position from the bottom. Not their concern bradder! If they make their fortunes, then the country's economy can go to hell. Semuanya for them will still be OK.

The current backtracking will not stop and there will be
further removal of incentives for intending investors, increased reversal of 'liberal' policies or more and more regulations/conditions imposed. If the authorities give in now on other issues, the IDR will turn out to be another ambitious, sham mega project to bite the dust, all because the government that 'cares', cared not for the people but for their votes. In the Johor Mentri Besar, like the other Umno warlords, the future well-being of the IDR has its biggest enemy. He will shamelessly put obstacles in the path of the IDR if it is politically advantageous to his ambitions. Let's wait and see.
Image - Source

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Blogger team BSG said...

as u have alays advocated MALAYSIAN, substance baby not form.

the wayang is tiresome.

10:42 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kittykat46 said...

The Free Foreigner access zone would have required in parallel restricted/ controlled access for Malaysians, to ensure the integrity of the immigration controls. It was a silly idea to start with, I'm not surprised its been scrapped.

What will deter potential investors more is the lack of clarity on other IDR incentives - Bumi equity, ownership rules, Foreign investment controls etc.

The relaxation of rules may look attractive now, but what if the Bumi equity rules simply get reimposed halfway down the line, when the investor has already sunk $ Millions into the zone. Nobody likes to have a change in the rules of the game halfway into the match.

11:43 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With this 180 degree U turn on the FAZ, we can deduce the following:-

1) The government did not think through the whole FAZ concept. Hallmark of a HP6 government.

2) If they had seriously considered the implications of the FAZ & went ahead with the announcement, then they are gutless for not standing up to their decisions.

From a potential investors point of view:-

"How can I trust these bunch of idiots not to change the 30% bumi ruling after I've poured in millions of dollars in invesment?
No thank you! I will park my investment in Vietnam or Cambodia & you can keep your IDR to yourself!"

1:47 PM GMT+8  

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