15th Meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia Focuses on Enhancing Investment and Innovation Ecosystem to Drive Economic Recovery
Johor Bahru, 11 August 2022
The Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM) held its 15th meeting on 11 August 2022 in Iskandar Malaysia. The meeting was co-chaired by YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), and Mr. Desmond Lee, Singapore's Minister for National Development. Also present were the Menteri Besar of Johor, YAB Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, and Singapore's Minister for Transport, Mr. S Iswaran. Senior officials from both countries were also present.
The meeting started with the ministers cycling about 4.2 kilometres from the Johor Causeway followed by a typical Johor breakfast at a local kopitiam. These events demonstrate the close relations between Malaysia and Singapore.
At the meeting, Malaysia and Singapore agreed to focus on enhancing investments and innovation to drive economic recovery post-pandemic COVID-19. This reinforces Iskandar Malaysia’s focus on social and economic recovery that is supported by a resilient ecosystem.
The JMCIM also noted the progress made by the various workgroups, including:
With the completion of the Afiniti and Avira Phase 1 Medini projects, the JMCIM endorsed repurposing the Iconic Project Work Group as the Innovation Work Group. This is to reflect the importance of technology and innovation in the competitive global environment as well as aligning to Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia’s innovation agenda. This Work Group will look into the overall strategies and initiatives to encourage and drive collaboration in technology and innovation leveraging on the different value propositions of Singapore and Malaysia. These include identifying partnerships between our tech start-up ecosystems, facilitation of business activities through sandboxes, pilots, and testbeds 2 as well as other types of collaboration through knowledge sharing and technical exchanges.
The JMCIM recognises the importance of providing various transportation and other connectivity options for cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore. In this connection, the JMCIM welcomes the new ferry service between Singapore and Desaru which began last month.
The Immigration Work Group continues to collaborate closely to ensure the smooth facilitation of cross-border movement of people and goods and has done well to manage steadily increasing traveller numbers since the land border reopening on 1 April 2022. JMCIM welcomed Singapore’s plans to redevelop and extend Woodlands Checkpoint to enhance security, allow for more automated processes through ICA’s New Clearance Concept, and reduce waiting time. The New Clearance Concept for Cargo will also provide a more seamless and efficient cargo clearance experience for lorries plying the land checkpoint. The Malaysia Citizen Motorcyclist (M-BIKE) system, which allows registered motorcyclists and their registered pillion passengers to clear immigration concurrently at dedicated M-BIKE lanes, is also operating at its full capacity to accommodate mass movement of motorcyclists across the border. Malaysia is also planning to install additional M-BIKE lanes in order to improve traffic flow. This project will be known as M-Bike 2.0.
Joint environmental sustainability initiatives fall under the Environment Work Group. The Environment Work Group has successfully conducted a virtual Workshop on Technologies for Enforcement and Surveillance on 5 July 2022.
The Industrial Cooperation Work Group will continue to align its strategies to collaborate in existing target areas for mutual benefit – Advanced Materials Engineering, Electronics, Alternative Protein and Talent Development, and explore new areas, such as sustainabilityrelated manufacturing projects and the digital economy, in line with increasing industry demand. The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) will also actively undertake more joint investment promotion activities in 2022/2023 to facilitate investments in Iskandar Malaysia. Both sides agreed to enhance collaboration in Technical and Vocational Education Training programs.
The Tourism Work Group will continue with the second edition of the Passport2Nature campaign, potentially linking other products and destinations within Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore. Discussions have been held on educational exchange programmes offering opportunities to learn and share best practices to conserve the natural environment by way of introducing edutourism packages for participants to experience nature sites and cultures.
The JMCIM noted that both countries are actively studying Malaysia’s proposal to set up a Work Group on Food Ecosystem Cooperation, as agreed at the 14th JMCIM meeting in December 2021.
The JMCIM also agreed to strengthen cooperation on electric vehicles, by coordinating standards to enhance interoperability and facilitate seamless crossborder travel.
The JMCIM notes that the Environment Work Group is currently revising its Terms of Reference to incorporate sustainability issues and collaboration on the management of hazardous chemicals. This is on top of promoting capacity building activities on environmental issues for government and industry players.
The JMCIM notes that the Transportation Links Work Group (TLWG) will also study ways to enhance cross-border connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists and agrees for TLWG to study the feasibility of proposals for new ferry services from Puteri Harbour, Malaysia to Tuas, Singapore.
The JMCIM encouraged the Tourism Work Group to explore new possibilities for twinning activities between Singapore and Johor afforded by the launch of the new ferry service between Tanah Merah in Singapore and Desaru Coast in Johor.
The JMCIM looks forward to meeting again in early 2023 in Singapore to sustain the positive momentum of bilateral collaboration.