'Friendship Bridge' Will Accelerate Singapore's Investment Flow: Johor NGOs

JOHOR BAHARU, April 18 (Bernama) -- The construction of the 'Frienship Bridge' connecting Singapore and Johor will accelerate investment flow from the republic into the state, thus fostering closer ties of both countries.

Leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were of the view the bridge proposed to be built was timely due to the booming industrial sector in Iskandar Malaysia.

Chairman of Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) Koh Moo Hing said the real estate sector would be among the sectors to benefit.

"It is high time for a third route connecting Johor and Singapore. If the bridge materialises, it will certainly boost Johor's economy," he told Bernama, here today.

Koh said the bridge would also help increase the migration of Singaporeans to Johor in the future.

In addition, 140 sectors related to real estate would receive spillover effects of economic activities with the construction of the bridge.

He was commenting on the statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the proposed Friendship Bridge connecting Johor and Singapore.

Koh said due to the high cost of living in the republic, many Singaporeans were keen to make Johor their second home, and this would help spur economic activities, bringing positive development to the real estate sector.

"The property prices in Johor is one third lower compared to those in Singapore. With the bridge and high speed rail system, I expect more Singaporeans to live in Johor and work in Singapore."

On the location for the bridge, Koh said Nusajaya or eastern Johor was also potential for the third bridge construction.

Eastern Johor, especially Pengerang, is fast developing with the booming oil and gas mega project and Petronas' RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) Project.

Meanwhile, the Malay Reconciliation Organisation president A Rahman Mahdi said the construction of bridge would have positive and negative effects on the country.

"It will have positive effects on the economy, particularly to the local business community. However, there is a possibility of escalating price of goods due to the influx of consumers with high per capita to income to Johor.

"It may also result in more outflow of subsidised goods such as cooking oil, sugar and other goods," he added