Zone”Singapore and Malaysia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the development of the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ). This agreement, signed by Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong and Malaysia’s Minister of Economy Mohd Rafizi Ramli, marks a significant step in enhancing cross-border economic activities and investment between the two countries.
The signing ceremony, which took place at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Johor, was witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. This MOU is part of a broader effort to establish a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement on the JS-SEZ, with both nations committing to provide an update at the next Malaysia-Singapore leaders’ retreat.
The JS-SEZ aims to leverage the complementary strengths of both Singapore and Malaysia, fostering economic connectivity and prosperity. As part of this collaboration, the countries plan to streamline the movement of goods and people across borders, enhance the business ecosystem within the zone, and support investments. Special tax arrangements, bonded warehouses, and easier movement for professionals are among the proposed measures to facilitate this cooperation.
Additionally, both countries are exploring innovative initiatives to further the development of the JS-SEZ. These include a one-stop business and investment service center in Johor, passport-free QR code clearance at land checkpoints, digitized cargo clearance processes, and a co-organized investors’ forum. The initiatives also encompass renewable energy cooperation and training programs to bridge talent and skills gaps in relevant industries.
A joint committee, co-led by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and Malaysia’s Ministry of Economy, has been established to oversee the implementation of the MOU. This committee will report to the Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia.
The establishment of the JS-SEZ capitalizes on Johor’s strong growth and the significant investments made in the region by Singapore. In 2022, Johor attracted RM70.6 billion worth of investments in various sectors, with Singapore being the second-largest foreign investor in the state. Additionally, Singapore and Malaysia have a robust trade relationship, with bilateral trade reaching S$153 billion in 2022, an 18.9% increase from the previous year.
This collaboration between Singapore and Malaysia on the JS-SEZ is a testament to their joint commitment to driving economic growth and strengthening their bilateral relationship through strategic economic initiatives.