A former Director-General of Kuala Lumpur City Hall before his appointment to the mayoral office in 2015, Mhd. Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz is widely recognised for his successful leadership at the helm of Malaysia’s capital city. Emphasizing that the people of Kuala Lumpur are the social wealth of the city, he is proud that his administration is helping to build communities by nurturing the sense of belonging and encouraging inclusive participation for the improvement of the living conditions of the entire city.
European Times: Could you share the recipe for the dramatic development of your city? What kind of business opportunities does your megalopolis offer?
Mhd. Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz: Kuala Lumpur offers excellent connectivity with other business centers in the region, making it a great choice for setting up a business hub. According to the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business report, the country is ranked second for competitiveness and fourth for starting a business in Southeast Asia, while Kuala Lumpur is the highest ranked World Energy City in the region.
Investors can look forward to the Principal Hub Initiative announced by the Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry in 2015. It allows multinational corporations to enjoy benefits such as customs duty exemptions into free industrial zones, licensed manufacturing warehouses, relaxation of equity ownership guidelines and the hiring of expatriates based on specific business requirements.
Adding to the great livability and infrastructure, Kuala Lumpur is incredibly blessed with diverse multilingual talent ready to serve the workforce. With the launch of various game changers such as the Mass Rapid Transit and the Digital Free Trade Zone/KLIA Aeropolis, Kuala Lumpur is a city which is undergoing vast transformations. From a cost perspective, it is ranked 165th (first being the most expensive) in the Mercer Global Cost of Living survey. Our city is a regional hub for key sectors such as IT, business services, engineering, supply chain and logistics, as well as oil and gas. However, with a shift towards digitization and more competition than ever among business hubs, we are increasingly looking to diversify into non-traditional sectors such as Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, automation, and the likes.
European Times: The city’s development plan envisions obtaining the status of a “World Class City” by 2020. What does this entail?
Mhd. Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz: To achieve such a status, we must ensure that the infrastructure, environment, city management, as well as cultural, social and community facilities are adequate for the benefit of all residents, visitors and investors. The four key principles of a “World Class City” are: working environment, living and business environment, and world class governance. Therefore we have been striving to achieve these benchmarks focusing on striking a balance between physical, economic, social development and environmental protection.
Our National Key Economic Areas plan projects the creation of 300,000 new jobs through the implementation of nine Entry Point Projects. These include attracting 100 leading multi-national companies to locate their headquarters in the city and connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore via a high speed rail system. The building of an integrated urban mass rapid transit system, as well as the River of Life project is expected to spur further economic investment into the areas surrounding the river corridor.
We are also promoting the enlargement of green space areas, as well as the creation and maintenance of iconic places and attractions in the city. There are multiple ethnicities living here, with their own cultural attractions which we plan to connect through “Heritage Trails” in addition to building a comprehensive urban pedestrian network.
European Times: Kuala Lumpur has gained worldwide recognition for its urban development projects. Can you share what is in the pipeline? What would be your advice to interested investors?
Mhd. Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz: There are several major development projects which have been completed, in addition to ongoing ones and upcoming developments. The recently completed development projects include the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre, the Urban Mobility Transformation – MRT Line 1 and St. Regis Kuala Lumpur (hotel and residences). The major ongoing development projects are the Tun Razak Exchange Development, which is set to become a leading centre for international finance and business, the Warisan Merdeka, which will be the country’s tallest building, KL Eco City, Bukit Bintang City Centre and the Cititower (a joint venture between KLCC Holdings and Qatari Diar). These will be followed by the construction of MRT Lines 2 and 3, Bandar Malaysia, a mixed-use mega project which occupy 486 acres along the Smart Tunnel and many other fascinating projects.
Kuala Lumpur will continue engaging its people for support and participation in recreational, cultural and social events, festivals and sport activities. We have a lot of opportunities here, in fact you can say that Kuala Lumpur is a city of opportunities, especially for foreign investors and multinationals. My advice to them is to explore all of the possibilities present, especially given the ease of doing business and the optimal cost of living, not to mention the livability and the wealth of outstanding talent pool in Malaysia.