In fact, copycat cities may be closer than we think. In Johor, Malaysia, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd has been partnering with government-linked companies and other investors in order to create Malaysia’s largest single urban development, known as the Medini Project — touted as “Singapore-lite”.
Not only does this have much potential, it’s also well-backed by massive Middle Eastern investors like Kuwait Finance House and Mubadala from Abu Dhabi, according to Forbes.
Building A City From Scratch: How Middle East Money Is Creating A New City In Malaysia
Ten years ago, Imran Markar was using a GPS device to navigate his way around a patch of land at the southern tip of peninsula Malaysia, just across the narrow Straits of Johor from Singapore. The area had once been used to grow oil palms, but the plantations had gone to seed and it took a lively imagination to believe that much else would thrive.
“When I first came to Johor in March 2007 it was abandoned palm oil estates,” he says. “The trees had died. It was a swamp, it was water-logged. I remember being cautioned not to step out of the car because there were snakes. There wasn't a road, not even a pathway.”
Today, the principal at Dubai-based United World Infrastructure (UWI) is able to drive around the same land on newly-laid roads that criss-cross a 2,300 acre, partially-completed building site, with dozens of cranes, apartments and office blocks rising up from the ground. The new city, named Medini, is part of the mega-development of Johor state being directed by the government’s Iskandar Regional Development Authority.
Medini Iskandar Malaysia - Smart City in the Making
The story of Iskandar Malaysia (IM) has gone through several iterations since its inception in 2006. Conceived as a special economic zone within the southernmost state of Johor in Malaysia, IM stretches across an area of 547,832 acres (2,217 sq km) or three times the size of Singapore.
Within IM are five zones, with Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya) being the administrative center earmarked as one of the investment destinations for both local and foreign investors—with catalytic projects such as LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort launched in 2012 and Gleneagles Medini Hospital that was opened last year.
The sheer size of the economic zone has created more room for other catalytic developments. Rising to the challenge is United Malayan Land Berhad (UMLand), one of Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini)’s key developers, which will be rejuvenating an existing lake and promoting lakeside living.
Medini Iskandar Malaysia—Inclusive Smart City
From Master Planner to City Builder
The Compass: Upcoming Commercial Hub
Incentives for Investors
Coming Up: Medini Lakeside
The Next Lap
Medini: Catalyst to the Pulse of Iskandar Malaysia
Incorporated in 2008, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIMSB) initiates and support catalytic developments of the 2,230 acres of land identified as Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini). MIMSB takes on the responsibility to creatively innovate aspects of Medini with the latest, integrated, connected and smart city initiatives.
As an integrated and comprehensive masterplanner for Medini, MIMSB has also made an impact as a developer, by building iconic developments that contribute to the growth of Medini. MIMSB has been working synonymously with other renowned developers such as UMLand, Sunway Iskandar, E&O, WCT, Mah Sing and many others, and this puts Medini on the map as the new destination in the region.
Aspiring to be the Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri, Johor, MIMSB works very closely with investment and government organisations to make Medini the Icon of City Living for the Future.
Medini Iskandar Malaysia
Medini Iskandar is the flagship development positioned as the new urban township of Iskandar Malaysia. Spanning an area of 9.3 sq km (2,230 acres), Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini Iskandar) is the flagship development positioned as the new urban township of Iskandar Malaysia.
- International Mixed-used Development
- 96 million sq.ft./2,230 acres in Nusajaya.
- The maximum permitted Gross Floor area (GFA) of 182 million sq.ft.
- Expected Gross Development Value(GDV) of US$20 billion over 15-20 years. 20% to be developed by 2014 with a targeted population of 50, 000
Medini Iskandar Malaysia
Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini) located within Iskandar Puteri is marked as Flagship Zone B under the Iskandar Malaysia development blueprint. This economic development region is situated in the state of Johor, Malaysia.
Medini is a 2,300 acres (9.3 km2) urban township development planned for a population of 450,000 by 2030. Medini is Malaysia’s largest single urban development to date and will become the smart and connected Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri. The gross development value of Medini stands at US$20 billion spanning 15 to 20 years. Signature developments in Medini include Mall of Medini and LEGOLAND®.Malaysia Resort (theme park), which is designed to provide activities for families and houses over 70 rides.
The name Medini comes from the ancient name of the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, Ujong Medini.
Darren Chin gave up a 15-minute train journey to his office in Singapore for a two-hour drive with a stop at passport control. The reason: By commuting from Malaysia, he can afford his own two-story home and car.
“It’s worth it,” said the Malaysian financial adviser, who leaves his house before 6:45 a.m. to get to his job at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. on time. “I’m saving on rent and I’m paying for my own house.”
Chin is part of the expansion of Southeast Asia’s richest city across its borders as residents and companies seek property, labor and amenities, often at half the cost or less. The result is a three-nation urban complex with a population bigger than London and an economy that would rank as one of the fastest-growing in the region.
Formula One Joins Legoland in Plan to Remake Malaysia’s South
Robert Pick, the former deputy head of the U.K.’s Marlborough College, recalls the day in 2009 when he stood atop a hill at the southern tip of Malaysia and scanned an endless sea of green palm oil trees. He strained to see the spot among the massive plantations where the private boarding school would build its first overseas branch three years later, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its September issue.
“It was a leap of faith,” says Pick, who’s now the founding master of Marlborough College Malaysia, in his new office with a floor-to-ceiling window and a view of vast cricket and rugby fields. “You wouldn’t have believed then what it is now.”
Today, the 90-acre campus boasts more than 30 low-rise buildings divided by green lawns and tennis courts and is traversed by 376 students.
Iskandar Malaysia: Why are the Chinese here?
S'pore-KL High Speed Rail Agreement
Malaysia's "gain" and Singapore's "loss"
Malaysia's ECRL touted as a game changer
Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
Mega reclamation project off Johor
Malaysia files for revision of ICJ’s Pulau Batu Puteh decision