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Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim - Iskandar Investment Berhad

Syed Mohamed to head Iskandar Investment
By ZAZALI MUSA and THEAN LEE CHENG (Star Business - 7 Oct 2010)

PETALING JAYA: DRB-HICOM Bhd group director for properties and infrastructure Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim will be heading Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), the company tasked with bringing investments into Iskandar Malaysia in Johor, by year-end, sources said.

He is expected to take over from Arlida Ariff, who is currently IIB president and chief executive officer. Arlida’s contract ends on Dec 31.

Syed Mohamed declined comment while Arlida was on business in Singapore. She is expected to be back in Johor today, sources said.

With Syed Mohamed slated to helm IIB, it was reported that Arlida would be taking up a position in Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Johor Baru-based IIB is a 60% owned subsidiary of Khazanah. The other stakeholders are the Employees Provident Fund and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, each having 20% equity.

IIB’s job is to promote Iskandar Malaysia, an area three times the size of Singapore. Iskandar Malaysia is also Khazanah’s largest property investment.

Because of its size, the growth corridor is divided into five flagship development zones with Khazanah’s UEM Land Holdings Bhd (which is part of UEM Group Bhd) being the master developer for Nusajaya, which is one of the five regions.

Sources said its proximity to Singapore offers plenty of leverage, given the latter’s air and sea linkages.

Iskandar Malaysia is not being promoted as a project but as a region, with neighbouring Singapore playing a huge part in it, both in terms of potential investment and its geographical location as investors will be able to leverage on Singapore’s connectivity to the rest of the world, a source familiar with the project said.

Iskandar Malaysia has two ports – Johor Port and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP). Senai Airport is located north of Johor Baru district.

On Monday, MMC Corp Bhd confirmed it had made a bid to acquire UEM Group with all its listed entities, which includes UEM Land and PLUS Expressway Bhd.

MMC is the flagship company of Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary. MMC has, thus far, invested RM15bil in Johor, namely Johor Port (RM1.2bil), PTP (RM4.4bil), Senai Airport (RM300mil), Senai High Technology Park (RM1.1bil), Aliran Ihsan Resources Bhd (RM200mil) and Tanjung Bin Power plant (RM7.6bil). Syed Mokhtar also controls DRB-HICOM, with a 55.92% stake via Etika Strategi Sdn Bhd.

Khazanah recently reduced its stake in DRB-HICOM to just under 5%. Following the move, it ceased to be a major shareholder. It has also initiated an audit probe into the financial management and operations of IIB following reports on various questionable procedures.