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JOHOR BARU: The state is poised to become the regional hub for aeronautical and aerospace technology following interest from Canadian investors.

British Columbia’s finance minister Michael De Jong said the provincial government had decided to open an office in the state to facilitate better trade following the visit by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

“Sultan Ibrahim is a good salesman for Johor and Malaysia and he has been able to impress both the business community and the politicians here about investing in the state, which is next to Singapore.

“He is also knowledgeable, especially with regards to technical issues in aerospace,” he said in a telephone interview.

Sultan Ibrahim is on a four-day official visit to British Columbia following an invitation from the provincial government.

During his visit, the Johor Ruler attended a dinner hosted by the aviation industry as well as touring several aircraft manufacturers and a cancer institute to learn about the latest breakthrough in the detection and treatment of the disease.

British Columbia, said De Jong, was now focusing on developing businesses in the fields of aerospace and satellite technologies in Johor.

Canadian companies, he said, were always encouraged to invest abroad and Johor was certainly a good location for them.

“Besides the close proximity to Singapore, we are impressed with the Ruler’s belief in wanting to create One Johor (Bangsa Johor) and to always maintain racial harmony in the state.

“This message resonates well in Canada, which has good respect for such leaders – more so when it comes from a Muslim leader,” he said, adding that he was also impressed by the Sultan’s belief that a state government should be run like a business.

Their office in Johor, he said, would be their first in the region.

“There is already trade between Canada and Malaysia, especially with the huge Petronas venture in Canada,” said De Jong, who visited Johor in conjunction with Sultan Ibrahim’s official birthday on March 23.

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Johor poised to fly high