Joint projects on track despite uncertain global economy

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singapore are confident the uncertain global economic outlook will not affect joint venture projects between Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings which are meant for long term development.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong believe their respective countries' projected economic growth would be sufficient to push the projects forward.

Najib said there were no signs that the overall development of Iskandar Malaysia was slowing down and that the investments were proceeding according to schedule.

"We believe the current economic situation in Malaysia and Singapore would continue at a level that will provide a basis for the private sector to continue to invest in Iskandar, barring something catastrophic," he said at a joint press conference after the two leaders met at their retreat here yesterday.

Lee said investors in the Khazanah and Temasek projects were interested in the long-term outlook rather than quarter to quarter fluctuations.

He said Singapore, which recorded a growth of 4.3% last year, was expected to see between 1% and 3% growth for 2012, adding that while this was positive, it would also depend on the international scenario.

"The more difficult the external environment, the more important it is for Malaysia and Singapore to cooperate and work closely together," Lee said.

The two Prime Ministers earlier witnessed the exchange of shareholders agreements between Khazanah and Temasek in relation to the joint investments in M+S Pte Ltd and Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd.

Owned 60-40 by Khazanah and Temasek respectively, M+S will develop land parcels in Marina South and Ophir-Rochor in Singapore while Pulau Indah, a 50-50 joint venture between Khazanah and Temasek, will develop projects in Iskandar Malaysia.

Khazanah and Temasek also reported to the Prime Ministers on progress made so far, including the appointment of architects and key consultants by M+S for the development of Marina South and Ophir-Rochor.

The two parties are also discussing with banks the financing for projects that have an estimated gross development value of S$11bil (RM27bil). The projects are expected to be completed over the next six years with construction starting in 2013.

Pulau Indah will develop the "Urban Wellness" project, a five-acre (2ha) site in Medini North and the "Resort Wellness" development on a 210-acre (84ha) site in Medini Central.

The gross development value of the projects, which include a wellness centre, serviced residence and a corporate training centre, is estimated at RM3bil.