PASIR GUDANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Johor government has a long-term plan for the state and an aspiration to make it the new economic powerhouse in Malaysia, said its Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
He said mega projects such as the Rapid Transit System (RTS), Gemas-Johor Baru double tracking system, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail and the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang would set Johor above others once completed.
"More importantly, these mega projects - together with other developments taking place here - will generate 250,000 employment opportunities in the state," he said in his speech before officiating SMK Dato' Penggawa Timur's 44th Parent-Teacher Association meeting on Sunday (Jan 21).
Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled also blasted certain parties for questioning the state government's efforts in attracting foreign investments.
"Without these investments, the state government cannot develop Johor's economy. We can see how vibrant are the developments here," he said.
Mohamed Khaled added that unlike the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), the opposition does not have any concrete plans for the state of Johor.
He said that the state government has been proactive in addressing the high costs of living, especially in urban areas, through building affordable homes and other initiatives.
"We have built 27 per cent of affordable homes in Johor so far with a price range of between RM40,000 and RM150,000, which is the cheapest in Malaysia," he said.
Mohamed Khaled said it was the responsibility of the BN-led state government to ensure that the people is able to benefit from development.
"It is our aspiration to make Johor a developed state and its rakyat enjoy prosperous lives," he added.
The Johor Mentri Besar said on Saturday (Jan 20) that the bilateral agreement signed by Malaysia and Singapore last week to finalise the implementation of the RTS project will play an important role in boosting cross-border economy.
Mohamed Khaled said the economic phenomenon would benefit not only residents in Johor but also from other states who intend to seek employment in Singapore for higher wages, reported Bernama news agency.
From Singapore s side, its citizens may come to Johor for shopping, recreation and so on thus boosting the economy.
"Cross-border economy is certain to thrive between countries located in close proximity to each other. Perhaps what is happening in Johor Bahru and Singapore now, can serve as an insight to the relevant parties on managing the cross-border economy of Kedah-Thailand, he said after visiting the Pasir Gudang Urban Transformation Centre on Saturday.
The agreement for the RTS project was signed by Malaysia and Singapore on Jan 16, at the eighth annual retreat between leaders of both countries.
The planned RTS will connect Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru and the planned Woodlands North MRT station, which is part of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast (TEL) Line in Singapore.