Johor Barisan Nasional (BN) has set its eyes to surpass Singapore with plans to turn the state into an economic powerhouse in the next few years
The ruling coalition's 14th general election (GE14) manifesto for Johor was unveiled on Saturday, 14 April, revealing BN's promises for the state, including some mega projects in a bid to compete with Singapore.
New Straits Times reported that the manifesto was drafted on three main targets: fulfilling the needs and improving the prosperity of Bangsa Johor; positioning Johor as a new southern economic power; and catapulting Johor to become a viable competitor to anyone, especially Singapore.
"Johor BN will not let Johor be the backwater to anyone, especially Singapore. We will not just sit here and watch Singapore develop itself, while not doing anything on our side. The southern tiger will chase the lion," Johor BN chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin was quoted as saying by The Edge, making a reference to Johor that is known as the Southern Tiger.
The plans of the incumbent state government include building three major theme parks in Johor
According to Khaled, BN is committed to building the following facilities in order to upgrade Johor's tourism sector with new attractions to compete with Singapore's Gardens by the Bay and Universal Studios:
1. A new theme park called Sci-Fi Universe at Iskandar Puteri, which will be developed at a cost of RM400 million, will be the world's first science fiction theme park;
2. A new tourism centre in Desaru worth RM4.5 billion; and
3. A RM2.7 billion eco entertainment park near the Yayasan Pelajaran Johor campus in Kota Tinggi.
Malay Mail Online reported tat the three projects are expected to cost RM7.5 billion.
"Once the projects are completed, I would not be surprised to see Singaporeans coming to world-class facilities available here," he said, as reported by The Straits Times.
Besides the three entertainment parks, BN's manifesto includes 230 offers under five main thrusts
Dubbed as the 'Johor Hi-5', the five thrusts are: a prosperous economy; a comprehensive infrastructure; the development of minds, talent and skills; high-performance leadership; and a sustainable, Islamic and cultured society.
Other highlights from BN's manifesto for Johor include RM50 education savings for each child born in Johor, RM100 pocket money for Year 1 pupils based on eligibility, RM500 for those getting married for the first time if they earned RM3,000 and below monthly, and expanding the Bas Muafakat Johor free bus service to serve schools, housing estates, and industry.
"We must work hard to make Johor as the best state in Malaysia, so that within five to 10 years, the story of our success will be echoed, not only throughout the nation, but also across the Tebrau Strait. Let everyone knows that this Southern Tiger can roar as loud as the Red Lion," Khaled said at the end of the manifesto presentation.
Johor BN's manifesto can be viewed on the 'Johor Hi-5' app.
With GE14 just around the corner, here are some things that you should take note of: