One of the great things about visiting a newish development in a country in person is that people tell you stuff that they might not have done in a more formalised, perhaps text-based setting.
This is how we know, from two separate sources who we won’t name in our forthcoming country report, that the Johor region of Malaysia has had a reputation in the past as the “Wild West” of the country. People didn’t want to work there, they needed persuading, it was basically a wilderness. And no, we’re not quoting everybody we spoke to, so it’s no use trying to guess who that was.
Work on the area has been going for some years now, however, and the place is different from the description its detractors applied. Organisations as reputable as Frost & Sillivan, Aegis and numerous others have carved a base there to offer themselves an arbitrage-friendly means of access to the near by Singaporean market and the response from locals wanting quality jobs has been positive. Input on education from institutions as varied as Reading University and Marlborough School, for UK readers, is very much a real thing rather than a promise.
There is a lot of building work going on and a lot of interest in setting up there. We’ll look forward to bringing you an extensive report in a few weeks – meanwhile a scale model of how the place will eventually look appears above.