Looking across the causeway

Business Times, Monday, 19th March 2012

Is it now more attractive for Singapore businesses, including SMEs, to invest and set up operations in the Iskandar region and southern Johor, or does more need to be done? What areas of business would you recommend most strongly?

THE initiatives announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are certainly a good first step. However, some of these measures will only come into effect many years down the road, such as the Rapid Transit System (RTS), which is slated for launch in 2018.

While the cost advantages of relocating to the Iskandar region may be a key attraction, this option may only be appropriate for certain kinds of businesses and not those that need to be in close proximity to their clients or suppliers who are based in Singapore. Clusters of related businesses need to be in place, followed by supporting businesses coming in after them.

Timing is critical, and SMEs that move to Iskandar at the wrong time may need lots of ‘stamina’ in terms of strong financial backing and the patience to wait to see the fruits. Governments from both countries need to provide sufficient support to facilitate and encourage the move.

Besides those measures announced by Prime Minister Najib, another factor that SMEs need to consider is the availability of the skill sets required by their business among the local workforce in Malaysia.

 

Ronald Lee
Managing Director
PrimeStaff Management Services Pte Ltd

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