As you drive into Iskandar Puteri via the Tuas Second Link, visitors from Singapore will see big road signs in white letters with brown background pointing to a new destination called Forest City.
This mega project was officially launched in March 2016 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Sultan of Johor and Menteri Besar of Johor in a grand ceremony reported widely in regional media.
Forest City, set to be South East Asia’s largest green development, is officially a duty-free trade zone with amazing sea-fronting real estate located in the south-western tip of Johor. Spearheaded by Country Garden, one of China’s top real estate developers, the project comprises four reclaimed islands near Tanjung Kupang of an initial gross development of RM450 billion. It has achieved RM170 billion worth of commitment investment, generating about an expected 220,000 jobs opportunities upon completion in 2035.
Forest City is envisioned to be a car-free zone with vehicular traffic channeled underground. This will trigger great changes on how development projects are being carried out throughout the world. With over 1,740ha of reclaimed land, it will be the largest of its kind as an iconic environmental friendly urban development. You will not see vehicles on the road, as Forest City is filled with greenery on the top layer. With a targeted population of over 100,000 residents, it’s a self-contained mini city within close proximity to the bustling Iskandar Puteri region and Singapore.
Moreover, with a duty-free status, this island project will be a fantastic business, real estate investment and tourism centre of South East Asia. There are other duty-free zones in Malaysia like Labuan and Langkawi too, but Forest City is very different because it’s situated next to Singapore with one of the world’s highest per capita income. Also, I foresee Forest City to be a very successful offshore banking centre complementing the existing onshore banking and finance centre of Singapore.
Forest City could also play a critical role in offshore transactional process management for the vast network of banks in Singapore. This, coupled with the solid data communication industry in Johor with its accompanying large talent pool from the world-class Educity institutions, making it a potent business and living hub never before seen in Malaysia.
I’m very optimistic for the future of Forest City and Iskandar Malaysia. The southern region of Asia comprising Singapore and Johor connected as a seamless trade zone via the High Speed Rail and Rail Transit System will create a high income region of impeccable quality of life for all Iskandarians.
News Source:(Ed Cheong)