With all the advantages of being in a prime location, the right connectivity factors, government incentives and support from key partners, Medini is definitely on the right track in its growth as a world-class sustainable urban city.
Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd (‘MIM’) is the master developer for the 2,230-acre township of Medini Iskandar Malaysia (‘Medini’). The years 2013 and 2014 were crucial to MIM as they transitioned from their role as a master planner and master infrastructure manager for Medini to a master developer and township management services provider. In 2013, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. acquired a 20 per cent stake in MIM. Mitsui brings with them a breadth and wealth of knowledge and experience in smart city development. This gave depth to MIM’s vision of turning Medini into a smart and connected Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri. MIM is currently majority owned by a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Jasmine Acres at 60 per cent), United World Infrastructure (20 per cent) and Mitsui (20 per cent). MIM is a niche catalytic developer focused on delivering commercial products, particularly office buildings as the primary focus with a secondary focus on mixed developments. Residential products in Medini are currently being developed by a mix of local and international property developers.
As a destination, Medini aspires to become ‘The Icon of Future City Living’ and this budding urban township is carving its journey in becoming a destination of choice for both foreign and Malaysian investors. For Medini, the essence of ‘Future City Living’ lies in harmoniously aligning work, live, play and learn within a space that values time, nature and sustainability. This is coming to fruition through the presence of some of the country’s premier developers in Medini, such as the Eastern & Oriental Group (“E&O”), BCB Berhad, CI Medini Sdn Bhd, WCT, Sunway Iskandar, UMLand, Mah Sing Group and many more where MIM leverages on the diversity and strengths of these partner developers to create a multi-faceted destination. Medini is already home to several well-established brands such as LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort, Somerset Serviced Residence and the state-of-the-art Gleneagles Medini Hospital. In addition, Medini is surrounded by key developments such as the international film and television studio Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios; best-in-class tertiary education hub, EduCity; Johor state administrative centre, Kota Iskandar; and waterfront leisure development, Puteri Harbour. With the upcoming Coastal Highway Southern Link by 2017 that will further shorten driving distance from Medini to Singapore immigration checkpoint, and ferry access from Puteri Harbour to Indonesia and soon to Singapore will result in greater connectivity across geographical boundaries.
By being an inclusive master developer, MIM has the advantage over other townships by offering a diverse range of high quality products through their developer partners as well as their township services partners. MIM also works closely with the federal and state government and its associated agencies; Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), local councils, as well as key stakeholders within and surrounding Medini to establish Medini as the smart and sustainable central business district of Iskandar Puteri, Johor. Medini offers a variety of enticing incentives not available anywhere else to investors seeking for investment opportunities at a location close to Singapore. This includes a 10-year exemption from corporate tax for businesses, a reduced tax rate of 15% for workers residing in Iskandar Malaysia and a Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) exemption on the sale of certain properties in Medini. Foreigners are also allowed to purchase property valued under RM500,000 and can have 100% foreign ownership of businesses while businesses have the flexibility to employ knowledge workers.
Homefinder talks to Datuk Ir. Khairil Anwar Ahmad, the Managing Director and CEO of Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd. (‘MIM’), on Medini’s strategic location, collaboration with the government and other stakeholders, and the progress of the thriving township thus far.
Datuk Ir. Khairil Anwar Ahmad was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd in 2013. Prior to this, Khairil was the COO of Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), a position he held from June 2012. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Education@Iskandar Sdn Bhd (EISB). Khairil comes from a background in engineering, construction and property development. Before he joined IIB in July 2007, Khairil was a Director at RSP Engineers after serving the Malaysia Building Society Berhad for almost ten years. Khairil graduated with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from the University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom. He is also a registered Professional Engineer.
What are MIM’s key products and who are they catered for?
MIM plans to develop its four integrated development clusters. They comprise The Compass, a premier commercial development cluster; The Crescent, a lifestyle retail & business park cluster; The Pulse, a premier commercial development cluster; and The Park, a residential and boutique commercial cluster. The first cluster development, being The Pulse, caters to the needs of entrepreneurial businesses looking for immediate occupancy into Medini. The premium office spaces offered by MIM range from work space suited for start-up companies who desire commercial premises that could meet their demands for office space as their business expands, to office space that are catered to more matured businesses with an average floor plate of 30,000sqft per floor. MIM currently offers a choice of three buildings that are already completed with another fourth commercial premise, Medini 9, which will be a 21-storey commercial tower due for completion in 2018. MIM focuses on developing office buildings that complements and acts as a catalyst for the developments carried out by our plot developers who primarily focus on residential projects. This ensures that there is a balanced ecosystem that allows Medini to secure its position as a smart and connected Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri.
What are the competitive advantages and initiatives offered to the Medini stakeholders?
MIM without a doubt recognises the importance of maintaining good stakeholder relations. This is an integral part of being an inclusive master developer. MIM carries out periodic initiatives to ensure we maintain solid ties with all our stakeholders, including developer partners, federal and state government, as well as a host of others. One of our premier initiatives is the Medini Knowledge Series, primarily targeted at developer partners and premised on sharing relevant information that can help them make empowered decisions. The Medini Knowledge Series usually ropes in key opinion leaders or experts from specific sectors who collectively provide a wealth of information. Among the most recent activities under this series was on incentives available to developers and those keen to buy residential properties at Medini. This was followed by another on talent and human capital development for the commercial investors of Medini, both existing and potential. MIM also carries out various community and CSR events to promote inclusiveness and to provide various platforms to reach out to the community.
Can you share the key ingredients for success for Medini?
One of the characteristics that defines Medini is that we are the first of its kind urban centre in Malaysia being developed as a smart and sustainable city. We are also an inclusive developer as MIM is jointly shaping Medini with key partner developers. This is unlike other townships where there is generally one developer responsible for driving development. The premier property developers located in Medini include brands like E&O, Sunway Iskandar, Mah Sing Group, WCT, UMLand, and BCB Berhad among others. Being in Iskandar Malaysia is also a key point. This is the fastest growing economic corridor in Malaysia and we have strong support from the federal and state governments, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Majlis Perbandaran Johor Bahru Tengah (MPJBT), as well as from our trusted stakeholders Khazanah Nasional Berhad, United World Infrastructure and Mitsui & Co. The state of Johor is also burgeoning as a key urban centre in Malaysia. Another factor that is contributing to our success is our location in the region. It is highly advantageous given this corridor has exponential growth possibilities, also due to the proximity of neighbouring countries Singapore, Indonesia and the rest of South East Asia. Last but not least, and perhaps our biggest success contributor, is the team at MIM who are passionate about developing Medini into a destination of choice.
What are your thoughts on the investors’ appetite for long-gestation infrastructure projects such as Medini and what are your strategies to foster stronger investor relations?
Medini was meticulously studied, planned and having completed all the necessary infrastructure, is now being developed with care and flexibility. Building a city and a central business district cannot be done overnight, given the development timeline spans over 20 years. This is to be expected given we are developing commercial clusters and our developer partners are developing various projects within Medini. All parties who invest here are aware of this long gestation period as it is a necessity. Investing in any property is something that should generally be done for the long-term if one wants to see optimal capital appreciation.
Having a vision and an execution plan is crucial for the township’s success. However, it is equally important to keep the plan flexible. How often has the master plan been tweaked thus far to accommodate the changes as the project evolves and condition changes?
The Medini masterplan has been carefully crafted as a result of an actively engaging process where designers, investors, development managers and authorities provided input to produce a comprehensive plan that meets the purpose of Medini, poised to become the exclusive and premier urban township development in Iskandar Puteri.
It is designed to:
- Provide convenience and comfort, which means easy access to entertainment, retail, hospitals, schools, etc.
- Promote sustainable development by preserving green spaces i.e. retention pond, parks, maintaining natural topography / terrain where parks are built around them
The masterplan is regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant, and enable us to make any adjustments in response to significant economic changes when required. As Medini evolves and market conditions change, we have flexibly allowed innovation and new technologies to enhance our projects, with a clear view to building sustainably for today and tomorrow. MIM has also intentionally evolved from master planner to developer to township services provider as this was always in the pipeline from the onset.
MEDINI IN NUMBERS:
9.3 km2 (2,230 acres)
Jasmine Acres Sdn Bhd – 60%
United World Infrastructure – 20%
Mitsui & Co., Ltd – 20%
Investments to date:
RM 200 billion with a target for
RM 383 billion worth of investments by 2025