Proposals for the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone: Paving the Way for a Robust Bilateral Partnership

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The anticipated Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (SEZ), announced at the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), has sparked excitement and high expectations on both sides of the border. Dr. Ong Kian Ming, a former deputy international trade and industry minister, provided a detailed list of proposals to enhance the bilateral relationship and economic collaboration between Malaysia and Singapore. These proposals aim to address connectivity, digital economy cooperation, and various other sectors, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership.

1) Enhancing Physical and Digital Connectivity

Dr. Ong emphasized the need for improved physical connectivity, suggesting the development of ferry connections and the potential for a third bridge linking Malaysia and Singapore. He also highlighted the importance of digital connectivity advancements, such as the interoperability of National Digital ID (NDID) systems and innovative traffic management solutions at the Causeway and Second Link.


2) Digital Economy Cooperation and Smart City Initiatives

Proposals for new areas of digital economy cooperation include nurturing the startup ecosystem, using Johor as a sandbox for technological innovations, and establishing partnerships between incubators and accelerators. Dr. Ong also suggested exploring smart city cooperation, focusing on technology-driven solutions for mobility, waste management, renewable energy, and e-government.

3) Education, Renewable Energy, and Joint Investment Initiatives

Dr. Ong recommended expanding education exchanges, developing the care economy ecosystem, and co-organizing tourism events to foster cultural understanding and economic growth. He also proposed joint investment pitches for high-value targets, such as TSMC, and enhancing renewable energy investments by aligning policies and encouraging capital deployment into the SEZ.

4) Johor-Singapore Chamber of Commerce

Lastly, Dr. Ong proposed the establishment of a Johor-Singapore Chamber of Commerce to oversee the investment interests of Singaporean companies in Johor. This initiative aims to build confidence and represent the business communities’ interests effectively.


As the Johor-Singapore SEZ progresses, Dr. Ong Kian Ming’s proposals offer a comprehensive roadmap for strengthening the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Singapore. These initiatives, encompassing connectivity, economy, education, and culture, aim to foster a thriving partnership that benefits both nations and sets a positive precedent for future collaborations.

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