M'sia & S'pore should seal Johor special economic zone deal by Sep. 2024: Economy minister Rafizi Ramli

The minister, who was speaking at a press conference after a closed-door forum, described the project as a "game-changer".

Keyla Supharta | July 10, 2024, 05:47 PM



The Malaysian government is planning to finalise an agreement for the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zones (JS-SEZ) by September this year, said Minister of Economic Affairs of Malaysia Rafizi Ramli.

The minister, who was speaking at a press conference after a closed-door forum, described the project as a "game-changer", Malay Mail reported.

Singapore and Malaysia are still negotiating terms for the project that would tap into Singapore's industrial expertise and Malaysia's rich resources.

Rafizi is confident that the agreement will be concluded on time in September.

“To be honest I’m pleasantly surprised that we didn’t need to put in much effort to convince them (Singapore) of the value proposition,” Rafizi told reporters.

Special economic zones

Earlier this year, Singapore and Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work on a Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ).

The MOU was signed by Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, as well as Rafizi.

The signing was also witnessed by former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

A joint statement issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and Malaysia's Ministry of Economy said that the signing of the MOU reaffirmed “long standing ties and joint commitment by both countries to strengthen economic cooperation”.

Located in Malaysia's Iskandar region

The Malaysian side of the framework for the JS-SEZ was already submitted to the Cabinet in May, and has already been conveyed to Singapore, according to Rafizi.

The JS-SEZ will be located in Malaysia's Iskandar region.

Onn Hafiz in May said that the JS-SEZ will involve a total of five local councils in the state— Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri, Pasir Gudang, Kulai, and Kota Tinggi.

It is expected to pave the way for Singaporean businesses to establish themselves in Johor, with possible incentives such as customs and trade facilitation and certain tax exemptions, according to Baker McKenzie.

The completion of the Rapid Transit Link between Singapore and Johor, scheduled for 2026, along with passport-free QR code clearances, will also help cross-border travel.

Top image via Rafizi Ramli/Facebook.