Iskandar Malaysia, the planned special economic zone within a stone’s throw of Singapore in southern Johor state, continues to exceed investment predictions and attract business interest from around the world. Established in 2006, Iskandar initially had targets of RM 50 billion (US$16.2 billion) in investment but has managed to raise RM 62 billion ($20 billion) to date. Should things continue to plan, a further $4 billion will come in this year and the goal is RM 383 billion ($124 billion) of investment by project completion in 2025.

The CEO of the Singapore Business Federation, after a recent visit, said there was substantial interest in the project from Singapore and other countries such as Japan, the UK and Australia, whose representatives also toured. The Iskandar Regional Development Authority said it will also target businesses in China, India and the Middle East. The Authority is seeking investment from a good range of industries, including services, technology and manufacturing.

Iskandar Malaysia, about three times the size of Singapore in area, has the specific purpose of luring talent and investment to southern Malaysia on a large scale with favorable economic conditions and special attention to residents’ lifestyle. Knowledge workers who take up employment in the zone before the end of 2015 will pay only 15% income tax indefinitely and investors will face a raft of incentives and exemptions. The plan is also designed partly to attract some of Malaysia’s 700,000 foreign based citizens back to the country.