Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak greeting the people.
Johor Bahru, MALAYSIA -- Johor Premium Outlets (JPO), which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and is estimated to attract 3 million visitors in its first year of operation.
Najib said he was confident the upscale outlet would not only see an influx of local consumers but also of international visitors from across Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
"I am sure many of our European tourists will also take advantage of the favourable exchange rate and discover that it is more economical for them to buy their goods here," he said at the grand opening of JPO at Kulaijaya near here today.
Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said Genting Simon Sdn Bhd, the JPO operator, will invest an additional RM100 million to build another 60 shops, bringing the total number of JPO shops to 130.
JPO, the first Premium Outlet megastore in Southeast Asia and the 70th in the world, is a collection of 80 designer and name-brand outlet stores featuring savings of 25 to 65 per cent every day.
Genting Simon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Simon Genting Ltd, which in turn is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Plantation's Azzon Ltd and Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group.
The Prime Minister said JPO's future plans include the construction of a water park, convention centre and a 2,000-room hotel, all within the vicinity.
"I am fully excited with the investment," he said at the ceremony which was also attended by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Genting Group chairman Tan Sri K.T. Lim and Premium Outlets president John Klein.
When announcing the Budget 2012 earlier this year, Najib said the government wanted to promote Malaysia as a shopping haven in Asia by providing branded goods at competitive prices, adding JPO could do much to help fulfill this vision.
According to the Prime Minister, JPO, located in Iskandar Malaysia, is one of Malaysia's leading tourism projects under the National Key Economic Areas of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
He said under the ETP, Malaysia expects to attract some RM1.4 trillion in investments, create 3.3 million new jobs and achieve a gross national income of RM1.7 trillion by 2020.
Out of the 131 Entry Point Projects (EPP), he said, 72 have taken off within the last 12 months.
With government investment in infrastructure of more than RM6 billion and encompassing over 2,200 sq km, Iskandar Malaysia is the largest single development project to be undertaken in this region, he added.
As of September this year, Najib said, Iskandar Malaysia had recorded a total cumulative committed investment of RM77.82 billion, with 60 per cent from domestic investors and the remaining 40 per cent from overseas.
"I am pleased to say that we are expecting further investments from China, South Korea, Japan, India, the Middle East and North America in the near future," he said.