The RM750 million investment to open the first Legoland theme park in Asia in Iskandar Malaysia is clear proof of the confidence of investors in the corridor launched in 2006.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that although the global economy was uncertain at present, the momentum for the development of Iskandar Malaysia was unaffected.

He said that to date, Iskandar Malaysia had received RM40.25 billion in both local and overseas investments, representing 86 percent of the RM47 billion targeted for the first phase until 2010.

“The RM750 million is a big investment. It is a symbol and proof of the confidence of investors in wanting to continue to invest in Iskandar Malaysia.

“Iskandar Malaysia has displayed convincing progress to enable it to emerge as a high quality and successful development area,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony for the building of the Legoland theme park here today.

The agreement was signed between the managing director of Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) Arlida Ariff and the managing director of Legoland Parks, John Jakobsen.

Apart from Malaysia, similar Legoland theme parks are found in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.

Merlin Entertainments will design and operate the theme park with a 20 percent stake in the project, whilst a consortium led by IIB will own the balance.

The Legoland theme ark will be built on a a 145-acre site in Medini Iskandar, known previously as Node 1, and is expected to be opened by the end of 2013.

According to the Prime Minister, the emergence of Asia’s first Legoland theme park in Malaysia was good as the country did not have any competitiors in attracting tourists to a similar facility.

“This means if tourists want to visit a Legoland theme park in Asia, they have to come to Johor Baharu and Malaysia.This is very good as we do not have to compete with other Asian countries,” he said.

He also said that the authority responsible for developing Iskandar Malaysia would strive to get more companies to open theme parks in the corridor.

On the development of the other corridors in the country, the Prime Minister said that Iskandar Malaysia had achieved more progress as it was launched earlier.

He said that while Iskandar Malaysia was launched two years ago, the other corridors were only launched last year.

“However, I wish to see the other corridors also succeed. Various incentives and government financial resources have been given to the authorities concerned and they need to think of multiple strategies to succeed,” he said.

He wanted the authorities responsible for the development to redouble their efforts to promote their corridors to investors, especially those from the Middle East,China, India and also throughout the world.

However, he stated that, development in the corridors was for all investors, both overseas and local.

The Prime Minister, who is also the joint chairman of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) attended its fifth meeting and the third for the Iskandar Advisory Council.

Also present was the Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, the managing director of Khazanah Nasional Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, the managing director of IRDA Datuk Ikmal Hijaz Hashim and the Johor state secretary Datuk Abdul Latif Yusof.

— BERNAMA