IRDA finalising talks with 3 theme park operators

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) is looking at finalising talks by the end of this year with at least three theme park operators to open their parks here.

Without disclosing the amount of investments involved, its chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said these projects would be part of the RM30 billion targeted investments set for this year.

“Currently, Iskandar Malaysia has achieved 48% of the target set for 2015 and we are on track to hitting the targeted RM30 billion in committed investments by year-end,” he told reporters after the opening of “Invest Iskandar Malaysia” forum organised by IRDA here yesterday.

Ismail said the theme parks operators were from Japan, North America, Europe and Australia.

“These are the countries that are normally associated with theme parks of an international kind. When we talk about theme parks it’s not only outdoor theme parks, but also indoor theme parks,” he said.

Apart from that, IRDA was also looking at more hotel operators to open five- to six-star hotels as well as opening more meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) here, Ismail said.

When asked on how Iskandar Malaysia was facing challenges sparked by the strengthening Singapore dollar against the ringgit, he said diverse investment portfolio in the region had somehow cushioned the impact.

“Although we have nine economic sectors, we are not dependent on one or two. So overall, while perhaps we maybe affected by oil and gas, which is one of the sectors that we are promoting, but on average there will be other sectors that would definitely push the average up, returning at the rate of 7-8%,” he said.

“After all, at the end of the day, it is all making the region more competitive,” he added.

The inaugural one-day forum held at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre was attended by 500 local and overseas participants including investing companies here and related government agencies. – Bernama