JOHOR BARU - Johor's newly minted state Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee chairman Solihan Badri hopes Malaysia and Singapore will continue to maintain good neighbourly ties.
"Neighbours are important to us, we have to take care of the neighbours around us, take into account their views to reach the best outcome for everyone," he told The Straits Times on the sidelines of a tea party hosted by the Johor chapter of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) at Thistle Hotel in Johor Baru on Sunday (April 28).
"In the context of Singapore and us, we hope with discussions and the good relationship between the Malaysian federal and state governments and Singapore and its people, we are able to achieve bigger progress," he added.
"If there are any issues, we should always try to iron them out together."
The 62-year-old was among 10 members of the state's executive council sworn in before Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar last Monday (April 22), following the appointment of Datuk Sahruddin Jamal as Johor's new menteri besar.
Mr Solihan said infrastructure, ports and transportation, which fall under his portfolio, are also "big areas which will be of concern to Singapore and give significant impact to our economic development", and hence will require proper planning and management to avoid potential problems.
In the area of infrastructure, Mr Solihan said he plans to review development projects in the state, including in Iskandar Malaysia, the economic development corridor dotted with luxury condominiums and five-star hotels.
"We will carry on with the good projects and improve on the less impressive ones, whether in their systems or infrastructure," he said, without giving details.
Easing traffic jams at the Causeway will also be one of his priorities, he said.
He has outlined some ways to achieve this, including having a single agency to manage the border checkpoint, trimming clearance time and increasing the frequency of the shuttle train service between Malaysia's southernmost state and Singapore.