Published: Wednesday October 17, 2012 MYT 1:26:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 17, 2012 MYT 3:11:05 PM
Shahrir Samad wants Johoreans to capitalise on state's economic growth
JOHOR BARU: The people in Johor should capitalise on the wealth of opportunities offered to them now as the state moves into higher gear for further growth and development, says Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.
"In just five years since Iskandar Malaysia was launched, Johor is now well on its way to becoming a regional tourism and education hub, with projects such as Legoland Malaysia, Puteri Harbour and Educity," he said in a recent interview.
Such projects, he said, were generating positive spill-over effects for the people in Johor.
Iskandar Malaysia, which was conceived by Khazanah Nasional, has so far attracted more than one-fourth of the RM383bil total investment target by 2025.
By that year, Johor is set to emerge as Malaysia's richest state, overtaking Selangor if the current trend of development and investment inflows continues.
According to Shahrir, the measure of success of Iskandar Malaysia was not only in its material development but its effect on transforming the mindsets of the people of Johor.
"I measure the success of Iskandar Malaysia in terms of the community and whether members of that community feel proud about where they live and see a future here for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.
"The younger generations now have the option of staying in the state and contributing their talents and skills," he said.
Shahrir pointed out that this was evident at the recent Nusajaya Carnival, where the main draw was the jobs fair.
"In the past, carnivals were all about entertainment and attracted visitors by drawing on a host of celebrities. But Johor's young generation of people are now more concerned with finding a good career in their home state.
"This new generation will stimulate demand for affordable housing, so it's simply not the case that all new developments (in the state) are targeted at Singaporeans and the rich," he stressed.
Shahrir said the main challenge over the next 20 years would be to maintain the right development balance and reinforce a closer relationship between the community and the authorities such as the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).