The roll out of infrastructure projects in Iskandar Malaysia is fuelling demand for houses, land and properties in the economic zone, resulting in price appreciation.
This trend causing a spurt in economic activities was a boon for the people as evidenced by higher wages, improved business opportunities and better living standards, said Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.
He said this clearly proved that the development of Iskandar Malaysia not only benefited big contractors and businessmen but also the ordinary people in Johor.
"Ordinary people are beginning to enjoy the fruits of Iskandar Malaysia projects and the massive injection of Federal funds of RM6.8 billion under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to boost infrastructure facilities," he told a media briefing on the progress of Iskandar Malaysia.
The event was organised by Danga Bay Sdn Bhd, the custodian of a privatisation contract awarded by the Johor State Government in early 2000 to develop 1,800 acres of waterfront land along Johor's Lido Beach.
Ghani said the focus on fiscal priority for Johor will be continued under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) with an additional budget of RM1.39 billion.
The Johor state government has also been in the forefront of the development drive with RM313.33 million set aside under its 2010 Budget for a host of other infrastructure projects.
Ghani said almost all the planned Iskandar Malaysia projects had economic elements designed to boost productivity and efficiency, impact the local economy and improve the quality of life of Johoreans.
"The highway projects, for instance, will significantly improve accessibility and connectivity and help open new business hubs, while creating more jobs and contribute in wealth distribution.
Ghani noted that several private sector projects were derailed by the global financial crisis, especially the property market. However, most of these projects are now starting to come on-stream, particularly the residential segment.
The massive infrastructure development in Iskandar Malaysia has resulted a big boost not only in terms of interest but also the commitment from many local property companies either from local or overseas.
Among the players are UEM Land, Australia's Walker Corporation, Dijaya Corporation, SP Setia Bhd, UDA Holdings, Bandar Raya Developments Bhd, Mah Sing Group, IOI Properties Bhd, Asiatic Development Bhd and Hua Yang Bhd.
Ghani said property players are bullish on the prospects of Iskandar Malaysia and this has created demand for land for their projects, which in turn will for Johoreans.
He said Johoreans will benefit from property value appreciation or land and huge employment opportunities, adding that the challenge for the state government now is to produce skilled workers to meet the future demand.
To ensure the lower and middle income group also benefited from the development of Iskandar Malaysia, Ghani said there are also properties for these category and also rehousing and relocation for the Orang Asli.
Meanwhile, KGV-Lambert Smith Hampton (Johor) Sdn Bhd executive director Samuel Tan said development in Iskandar Malaysia has resulted in appreciation in property and land value.
"Property value for residential, commercial, industrial and land for development have increased substantially. Developers continued land banking in Johor because they are bullish on Iskandar Malaysia," he said.
Tan said commercial land in Danga Bay has appreciated 181 per cent from RM220 per sq ft to RM400 per sq ft, adding that it has resulted in capital and rental appreciation.
He said the suburbs in Johor will grow due to improved infrastructure and commercial decentralisation, while rural areas will be opened for development due to cost factor.