'Johor's future is bright'

ISKANDAR PUTERI - Johor is poised to be the next economic powerhouse in Malaysia after the Klang Valley, especially with four mega projects taking place in the state.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said among the schemes already underway were the multibillion-ringgit Forest City project, the High Speed Rail project between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the double-tracking project between Gemas and Johor Baru, and oil and gas ventures in Pengerang.

"All these projects, together with good planning not just coming from Putrajaya but at the district as well as grassroots levels, I am sure that Johor's future is bright despite the uncertain global economy.

"Johor is an important state for the Government either politically or economically. And I do believe that the state is in good hands and its aspirations to become a new economic powerhouse will soon become a reality," he said.

Najib said this in his speech before launching the Johor Strategic Economic Growth Plan (PPSJ) and Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan ii (CDPii) at Educity Indoor Stadium here yesterday.

He pointed out that statistics from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority had shown Johor to be the highest-ranked in Malaysia last year with RM31.1bil in investments in the manufacturing sector, which contributed to 41.6 per cent of the country's overall investments.

Najib also expressed confidence at Iskandar Malaysia's growth as the southern corridor had brought in investments of more than RM200bil since its inception in 2006.

He, however, said that focusing on one area for development would result in economic injustice to other districts as "no group or individual should be left behind to enjoy the growth in Johor".

Najib added that he supported the intervention by the state government to introduce the PPSJ, where all 10 districts would be able to gain opportunities to attract new investments by promoting their unique products to a bigger market.

He noted that the Government had always stressed on programmes and initiatives that not only focused on physical development but also on the rakyat.

"The people must be at the centre of development to ensure they enjoy the growth as well.

"Inclusive planning is important. Engaging with the rakyat will let them understand that big investments bring in many jobs, which then lead to economic growth and government allocations for the rakyat's benefit.

"I do not want the people to support me because I am the Prime Minister but to support the plans that we have made based on the needs of the rakyat," he said.