KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Johor government organised the Johor leg of MIDA's 'Invest Series: Unfolding States Business Potential' programme to showcase the investment opportunities in the state.
The event at MIDA's headquarters attracted 400 participants, including captains of industry, government officials, entrepreneurs and senior managements from various sectors.
The programme started with a welcome address by MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman and a keynote address by Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
Onn Hafiz spoke about the latest Johor Development Plan and the state's investment aspirations, calling the state the "southern jewel of Malaysia".
"Johor's total approved investments for last year reached an all-time high of RM 70.6 billion, which is the highest in the country.
"Since taking over the helm of the state government last year, my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to enhance our economic resilience by assisting the people in cushioning the impact from price increases and facilitating business recovery.
"We have sought to generate quality investments, secure more job opportunities and put in place the building blocks of a more dynamic, inclusive and sustainable economy.
"We are consistent in our efforts to ensure the rapid recovery of our economy, while strengthening its resilience to new challenges posed by the changing landscape of the global economy.
"There is a lot still to be done and we must keep focused on the bigger picture and the longer game of creating a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable economy for Johor and Malaysia," he said.
Arham highlighted the country's investment performance this year.
"Malaysia has attracted RM264.6 billion in approved investments in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors last year, creating 140,370 jobs in the country.
"Johor played a significant role, accounting for a substantial portion of approved investments at RM70.6 billion.
"Congratulations to Johor for showcasing its economic potential through its attractive investment climate and strategic location, and for its outstanding contribution to Malaysia's economy."
He added: "As part of its commitment to boosting domestic investment, the government, in collaboration with MIDA, has undertaken several initiatives aimed at attracting investment to Johor and other states.
"From the MIDA Invest Series to the Domestic Investment Coordination Platform, the SME Investment Desk and joint programmes with local industry associations and chambers of commerce, these efforts are designed to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
"The Domestic Investment Seminar, Domestic Specific Project Mission, Industry Linkage Programme and Supply Chain Programme are also in place to help foster partnerships and drive innovation."
Over the years, Johor has remained a crucial gateway for the country, thanks to its advanced infrastructure projects.
Some of the most vital infrastructure developments in Johor are the connections to Singapore, including the Johor-Singapore Causeway built in 1924 and the Tuas Second Link bridge constructed in 1998, both of which have played a significant role in linking Singapore and Malaysia via Johor.
Johor also offers other excellent infrastructures for investors, such as the Senai International Airport and three ports — Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Pelepas and Tanjung Langsat — positioning Johor as a hub for investments.
MIDA continues to promote the digital tech sector, including data centres, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and creative and digital content, such as gaming and animation, as well as system integrators and solution providers, to make Malaysia the region's tech launchpad.
Data centre investments in Johor totalled RM51.1 billion last year. MIDA welcomes investments from leading data centre companies to tap into the vast market demand for such services by building a critical presence in Malaysia.