Mon, 31 May 2010

Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The industrial cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore could disadvantage the Batam, Bintan, Karimun Free Trade Zone (FTZ), a noted businessman said.

"The development of the Johor Bahru Iskandar Muda industrial zone by Singapore`s Temasek and Malayasia`s Khazanah would adversely affect Riau Islands free trade zone," Honorary Council Chairman of the Indonesian Businessmen Association (Apindo) for Riau Islands, Rudy Chua, said here on Sunday.

He said that Singapore`s investors who were disappointed with the FTZ of Batam, Bintan and Karimun, would make their investment in the Johor Bahru`s Iskandar Muda industrial zone.

Rudy, who is also secretary of Commission II of Riau Islands Legislative Assembly (DPRD), said that many would be investors from Singapore were initially interested in the in Batam, Bintan and Karimun economic policy developments.

Even, the Singapore prime minister was committed to assisting the development of Riau Islands` FTZ because geographically the three islands are close to that country.
But after one year, the FTZ has not yet developed well because it was hampered by overlapping regulations. Officials in the region were also confused to handle the various problems being faced by the special economic zone.

This conditions caused Singapore`s investors and those of other countries hesitate to make their investment in the Riau FTZ.

"The central government is still half-heated in developing the FTZ. Therefore, we are afraid that it would lose the momentum. After all, Malaysia and Singapore have developed a new industrial area," he said.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Datok Sri Moh Najib Tun Abdul Razak recently announced the cooperation in the development of the industrial area.

Malaysia set aside 217 hectares for Singapore to be cultivated by a joint venture firm established between the two countries. (*)