IDR – Could Middle East do the Trick this time?

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Aug 28 2007
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Since the last durian-eating session between Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia’s premier Badawi with the pledge by the former to support IDR (Iskandar Development Region), everthing has quiet down until today when the ambitious IDR project was awaken again by the local media.

This time, it was reported that a group of investors from Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are expected to join Malaysian investors to develop 2,000 to 2,500 acres in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) into a high-end integrated city. The initial development investment is projected at US$3 billion but the huge chunk would be in the construction of which an estimated US$10 billion will be spent.
IDR Putrajaya PerdanaA local newspaper quoted a source as saying the land would be purchased from South Johor Investment Corp (SJIC), the developer of IDR, but jointly developed by the Middle Eastern parties and SJIC. Mudabala Group of Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are said to be among the investors that would be building high-end properties in IDR.

The market was optimistic that Putrajaya Perdana Bhd will be the major player after Swan Symphony Sdn Bhd has proposed to buy a 50.6% stake in Putrajaya Perdana (KLSE: PPEDANA, stock-code 5117) for RM390mil cash recently from Eastern & Oriental Berhad (KLSE: E&O, stock-code 3417). Swan Symphony, a consortium comprising Middle Eastern, Malaysian and Singaporean investors, is 51%-owned by the Abu Dhabi-Kuwait-Malaysia Investment Corp and 49% by Autron Investment.

The details of the IDR development by the Middle-Eastern however are still very conceptual and sketchy at this moment. So, would the IDR finally take off in a big wave with both Middle Eastern and Singaporean driving it? Will Malaysian give the consortium the free hand in the development project and prevent another similar disaster such as the PKFZ’s scandal of which the Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone Authority pulled out from the pact?
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