IIB partners Eco World to build homes in Johor

KUALA LUMPUR: Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) will co-develop nearly 4,000 units of affordable homes in Johor for the M40 group together with one of Malaysia's top property developers, Eco World Development Group Bhd.

IIB, through River Retreat Sdn Bhd, has formed a strategic collaboration with Perbadanan Kemajuan Perumahan Negeri Johor (PKPJ) and Permodalan Darul Ta'zim (PDT). 

PDT in turn, has joined forces with Eco Botanic 3 Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EcoWorld, for the affordable housing project.

Datuk Idzham Mohd Hashim, president and chief executive officer of IIB, said the partnership allows the company to play a pivotal role in providing affordable housing solutions for the M40 group. 

"As we approach the goal of reaching a living and working population of 600,000 by 2030, we have strong confidence that this project will not only contribute to achieving population growth but also serve as a catalyst for increased investments in Iskandar Puteri, thereby elevating the socio-economic standing for Johor," Idzham said in a statement.

River Retreat is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iskandar Coast Sdn Bhd (ICSB), which in turn is 80 per cent-owned by IIB. The remaining 20 per cent of ICSB is held by Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH). 

Shareholders of IIB are Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Employees Provident Fund, and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

According to Idzham, the M40 group is integral to the growth of Iskandar Puteri's and Malaysia's talent pools.

Having a healthy middle class ensures a stable consumer base that can boost the country's economy, as the middle-income population constitutes the largest population segment in Malaysia, he said.

Idzham feels that the M40 group would live in a better quality of life in Johor if there were more reasonably priced homes available.

According to him, this new development also meets the needs of middle-class individuals who want to move to Johor, which is Malaysia's next growth region.

The importance of the middle-income population and the talent within this segment are also recognised in the recently inked Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

He said the government's initiative is set to drive foreign investments and accelerate economic growth in Iskandar Puteri, with a strong commitment to fostering economic inclusion.

Fully committed to supporting the JS-SEZ, IIB believes the collaboration will create opportunities for businesses to expand operations, enhance cross-border trade, and stimulate economic prosperity, with a specific emphasis on promoting economic inclusion in the region.

"The JS-SEZ rides on the strong, solid growth of Johor and significant investments in the region by Singapore," said Idzham.

IIB's role as a critical catalyst and strategic developer within Iskandar Puteri's Flagship Zone B is becoming more emphatic with this historic initiative between Malaysia and Singapore. 

As a master developer of Iskandar Puteri, IIB is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and sustainability within its developments. 

Idzham said that the JS-SEZ initiative reaffirms the geographical advantage of the proximity between Iskandar Puteri and Singapore, which is 20 minutes away. 

JS-SEZ will undoubtedly complement the earlier announcement in 2023 of the Forest City Special Financial Zone (SFZ), realising the vision of developing Iskandar Puteri as an inclusive and sustainable metropolis of the future, it said.

"IIB is proud to affirm its readiness to play a significant role in the JS-SEZ and SFZ, prioritising economic inclusion as a fundamental aspect of these initiatives," it said.

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