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Iskandar Puteri to Be First Drone and Robotic Zone in Southeast Asia

Commercial and residential buildings stand illuminated at dawn in this aerial photograph taken above Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, on Thursday, June 20, 2019. Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he underestimated the challenges of governing the country before his shock election victory last year. I underestimated because we were on the outside and we didn’t get any information on what was happening on the inside, Mahathir said. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/BloombergP10

Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) has launched the DRZ Iskandar today, placing Iskandar Puteri as the first Drone and Robotic Zone in Southeast Asia.

This is in line with IIB’s recent launch of the ISKANDAR NEXT initiative, a public-private partnership programme with the Johor state government to support the State’s digital economy agenda to accelerate growth towards becoming a Regional and Global Business Hub.

The DRZ Iskandar aims to create a drone and robotics eco-system in Iskandar, which would become a growth engine, technology leader and talent hub for Malaysia and Asia Pacific. DRZ Iskandar is projected to bring in RM351mil of investment and generate 1,000 high-value jobs by 2025 in drone and robotics.

DRZ Iskandar was jointly launched by Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI) and Hasni Mohammad, the Chief Minister of Johor via virtual platform.

Also witnessing the official launch are Mohd Izhar Ahmad, the Johor State EXCO of Investment, Entrepreneur, Cooperative and Human Resource together with representatives from DHL, MaGIC and IIB Group of Companies.

Khairy said, “The Asia drone market is expected to grow from USD8.6 billion in 2020 to USD17.9 billion in 2025 in revenue, according to the 2020 industry report produced by Drone Industry Insight. Malaysia aspires to be the frontrunner in the dronetech industry. I am confident that through the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS), we will be able to realise this goal.”

DRZ Iskandar is the next NTIS Sandbox and IIB will further support NTIS in accelerating growth for Malaysia.

According to Khairy Jamaluddin, “The DRZ Iskandar and NTIS share the same aspirations in our effort to upskill local talents and move them higher up in the technology value chain, thus creating greater socio-economic impact. Through this partnership, NTIS will now be able to connect our local technology companies to bigger industry players and multinational companies such as DHL.”

“The launch of DRZ Iskandar is an important milestone for Johor Digital Master Plan that brings us one step closer in creating a Digital Hub in Iskandar Malaysia as announced recently in the Johor Budget 2021. The strategic partnership and collaboration in DRZ Iskandar would position Iskandar Malaysia as the forefront in the drone and robotics industry thus creating various opportunities and job creations in Johor,” said Hasni.

Medini, which has been announced as the Johor Digital Hub in the recently announced Johor Budget 2021, would be equipped with advanced digital infrastructure, and attracts technologically savvy companies to this smart city under DRZ Iskandar programs.

“The Digital Johor Corporation which would be established soon, will play important role alongside with IIB to ensure our digital economy agenda been achieved. I would like to urge IIB and its group of companies together with their esteemed partners to work closely with Digital Johor Corporation and other government agencies to jointly develop the DRZ Iskandar ecosystem.” added the Chief Minister of Johor.

During his welcoming speech, President/Chief Executive Officer of IIB, Khairil Anwar Ahmad mentioned, “IIB is proud to announce the Launch of Drone and Robotic Zone (DRZ) Iskandar, following our launch of the Iskandar Next programme last October. Staying true to the tenets of an innovative leader, the launch of DRZ Iskandar will boost digital innovation in Iskandar Puteri. We are also proud to collaborate with esteemed partners, DHL, MaGIC, Futurise, MDEC, CAAM and the network of 46 local and international companies to jointly grow and develop the DRZ Iskandar ecosystem. These will form the pioneer alliances under the DRZ Iskandar banner which we hope will grow further in 2021 and beyond to realize the vision we have for Medini in Iskandar Puteri.”

At the launch, DRZ Iskandar also welcomed new partners and stakeholders into the ecosystem. MaGIC signed Memorandums of Understanding with IIB Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Iskandar Investment Berhad and with DHL in Iskandar Malaysia, to establish the first Drone and Robotics Zone in Southeast Asia.

With the Drone and Robotics Zone strategically situated in Medini, the partners, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) aim to develop a robust ecosystem where talents for the DroneTech industry are trained and certified, world-class drone events are hosted, and start-ups network with incubators, accelerators and innovators congregate to test and commercialize their drone and robotics innovation.

CAAM will provide technical, regulatory frameworks and parameters for drones to operate efficiently and safely. This will not only fast-track the testing of the locally developed drone powered solutions in the NTIS sandboxs but will also elevate Malaysia’s visibility in the regional and global dronetech industry.

Medini, which is located within Iskandar Puteri has been identified as the location for the DRZ Iskandar based on existing infrastructure and amenities which are constantly being improved and upgraded, making it suitable for identified activities including as a Drone Test Zone (DTZ), Design and Development Centre, Talent Development and Training Centre, offering Assembly, Aftermarket & MRO Facilities as well as to hold Drone & Robotics events.

As a global logistics company, DHL has a deep understanding of the supply chain requirements of this sector and is supporting the initiative with its experience in the application of drone and robotics technologies in its own operations. DHL Asia Pacific Innovation Center partnered Iskandar Innovations Sdn Bhd to launch the Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) in 2018. The GCOE has been instrumental in developing the strategy behind the Iskandar Drone and Robotics Zone as part of its ongoing efforts to promote Iskandar’s catalytic initiatives around Industry 4.0.

“By drawing on our technological experience and logistics expertise, which will prove valuable in the shipment and customs clearance of drone components, I am confident that DHL will help IIB Ventures create a world-class sustainable drone and robotics ecosystem in Iskandar,” said Julian Neo, Managing Director of DHL Express Malaysia and Brunei.

Recently, NTIS through MaGIC collaborated with the country’s largest plantation operator, FELDA, to deliver social impact and create economic value through the use of technology such as drones and robotics.

As the lead secretariat, MaGIC will work hand in hand with IIB and DHL towards establishing DRZ Iskandar as the next sandbox test bed under NTIS to better funnel high potential NTIS approved startups, accelerate the creation and acceptance of local innovations through a structured framework within a controlled environment and towards commercialisation stage.”

Collectively, IIB has created close to 10,000 job across five promoted sectors in Iskandar Puteri and created an estimated RM400 millions of total revenue for the government.


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