Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak earlier today said 11 rejuvenation projects are being explored in Johor Bahru to ensure the city remains attractive, fresh and ready to enjoy the spillover from the catalytic industries currently being developed in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia.
“The transformation of the southern corridors and Iskandar Malaysia are among the many initiatives under the 10th Malaysia Plan and a model for the nation’s transformation in new growth areas located in selected zones. For Malaysia to progress, we need to be more competitive as a nation and be more relevant in the international economy,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of Iskandar Malaysia City and Corridor Transformation Programme at Persada Johor, the Prime Minister said fundings have already been allocated for environment beautification, rejuvenation of Sungei Seagate as well as improvements to public transport.
Iskandar Malaysia is already fast taking shape with Legoland Malaysia set to be ready this year and Puteri Harbour already completed.
However, there still remains the more difficult areas to tackle such as the township of Johor Bahru, which is experiencing urban sprawl, signs of decay as well as safety issues.
Realising that safety is of paramount concern, the premier has assured this will be his top priority.
Task force set up
Indeed, crime issues have been a top concern among Singaporeans and investors in the Malaysian state located just north of Singapore.
To address this Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) had set up a task force that will include using technology in the form of CCTV, regular police patrols and fast respond squads.
Ismail Ibrahim, chief executive of IRDA revealed that 138 police posts will be coming up within Iskandar Malaysia – 15 already in place.
“There will be increased police presence. We are currently training 142 auxiliary police personnel to supplement the existing police force,” he said.
Ibrahim also revealed RM200 billion of funds will be allocated for the rejuvenation of Sungei Seagate.
Warming bilateral ties
Bilateral ties between Singapore and Malaysia have strengthened thanks to the increased co-operation between Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the Malaysian Prime Minister and this had not gone unnoticed.
“We are thankful to the two governments as increased interest has been recorded, especially from Singaporeans after the renewed bilateral ties between Malaysia and Singapore. The commitment of the two governments in strengthening these ties is through the various joint efforts taken to encourage growth in Iskandar Malaysia,” said Ibrahim.
Some of these efforts include the iconic wellness project between Singapore’s Temasek Holding and Malaysia’s Khazanah, expected to break ground this year in Medini as well as the joint development of a Rapid Transit Link (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore to enhance connectivity between the two countries by 2018.