Iskandar Malaysia (IM) in Brief
Iskandar Malaysia, previously known as the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) and the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), is a visionary economic region in the
Fig. 7.1 Schematic representations of social-environmental-economic transformations involving changes in lifestyle and technology that will bring about a low carbon society in Iskandar Malaysia (Source: IRDA 2014)
southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. The region with the size of 221,634 ha (2,216.3 km2) was established in 2006 as one of the catalyst development corridors to spur growth of the Malaysian economy into the first quarter of the twenty-first century. In the macro-regional context, IM is strategically located at the southernmost tip of Mainland Asia to tap on a vast and burgeoning market of about 0.8 billion people within a 6-hour flight radius (Fig. 7.2).
Envisioned to be 'a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing' and set to become an integrated global node that synergises with growth of the Global City State of Singapore and the Riau-Batam Region of Indonesia, it has been projected that IM will be sustained by a rapid annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7–8 % that will almost quadruple the GDP of the urban region to MYR141.4 billion in 2025. The urban region is expected to experience a concomitant rapid population growth, with Iskandarians more than doubling from 1.35 million in 2005 to about 3 million by 2025 (Khazanah Nasional 2006).
As shown in Fig. 7.2, five flagship zones have been established as the main economic growth centres with their respective niche sectors in IM. These flagship zones have been envisaged to both further strengthen and value-add to the urban region's existing economic clusters as well as to diversify and develop targeted strategic growth sectors.
In terms of local administration, IM covers the entire Districts of Johor Bahru and Kulai and three subdistricts of Pontian. The administrative jurisdiction of the urban region falls under five local authorities (which are also the respective local planning authorities (LPAs) for their areas), namely, the Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB), Johor Bahru Tengah Municipal Council (MPJBT), Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG), Kulai Municipal Council (MPKu) and Pontian District Council (MDP) (see Fig. 7.3). In addition to traditional state and local
Fig. 7.2 Geographic location of Iskandar Malaysia within the Southeast Asian region and the five flagship zones in Iskandar Malaysia (Source: Adapted from iskandarmalaysia.com. my/)
administrative institutions, towards expediting and ensuring effective implementation and materialisation of development plans and policies in IM, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) has been set up under the Iskandar Regional Development Authority Act, 2007 (Act 664). Under this Parliamentary Act, IRDA which is co-chaired by the Malaysian Prime Minister and Johor State Menteri Besar (literally the 'Chief Minister') holds the statutory functions of planning, promoting, coordinating and facilitating development and investments in IM.
As Iskandar Malaysia undergoes very rapid physical-spatial development and economic growth, it becomes highly essential that the social and environmental impacts of its rapid expansion and economic growth are mitigated, guided by a holistic LCS blueprint that will fit into the existing development planning and institutional framework presently at work in the urban region.
Fig. 7.3 Municipal jurisdictions within the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor (Source: Adapted from Khazanah Nasional 2006)