During an informal bilateral discussion with Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, raised the topic of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone. Anwar was in Singapore for a one-day working visit, which included his participation in an invitation from the Milken Institute to provide insights on how Malaysia can attract foreign investment.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife hosted Anwar and his wife, Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, at an afternoon tea ceremony.
While the discussions were informal, they touched on matters of mutual interest to both countries. Anwar mentioned the proposed special area in Johor, specifically designed for foreign company managers working in Singapore, during the conversation.
He emphasized that this special area would soon become an attractive alternative for global company managers based in Singapore to reside. The area is envisioned to provide a more comfortable living environment with various facilities, including international schools, golf clubs, and convenient access via the Second Link, making their daily commute more manageable.
Anwar revealed that he had received numerous inquiries about the special zone during a meeting with global investors earlier on the same day. He pointed out that the cost of living and managing operations in Singapore was notably high. By offering this special economic zone in Johor, foreign company managers could continue working in Singapore while enjoying more cost-effective living arrangements across the border.
In July, Malaysia and Singapore reached an agreement to establish a special task force responsible for studying and developing the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone. The progress of this task force will be reported to the leaders during the upcoming Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat scheduled for October.
Anwar’s visit to Singapore was part of his broader international agenda. He intends to meet with significant investors in the United States and globally during his visit to New York. Additionally, he plans to hold discussions with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to address the issue of Islamophobia on the global stage. Further details of his bilateral meetings will be announced before his departure.
This visit marks Anwar’s first visit to Singapore as Prime Minister since taking office in January.