The New Decade of Johor

By Benedict Weerasena & Mohd Daud Mat Din

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*Photo Credit : Majlis Perbandaran Kulai 2018

“Progress is Dynamic.

No full stops, no finality.

It should point towards a greater vision – not just achieving a developed state, but more importantly a society second to none.”

– YAB Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Bin Nordin, Chief Minister of Johor

 

Johor’s progress over the past decade has been exceptional. From 2011 to 2016, the state’s economic growth surpassed Malaysia’s every year with an average of 5.9% compared to 5.1% for the latter. In addition, Johor’s projected economic growth was revised from 4.5% in early 2017 to 5.5%. This progress is also holistic, as shown by Johor Bahru’s outstanding achievement as 3rd best city in Southeast Asia according to Mercer’s 2017 Quality of Living Rankings.

In terms of administrative excellence, over 95% of 256 key performance indicators (KPI) of Johor’s state administrative officers with 1,104 initiatives achieved 100% completion. More remarkably, districts in Johor nabbed numerous international awards in 2017, including Muar Municipal Council winning ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard, Kluang Municipal Council winning Gold Award of International Green Apple Award and Green World Ambassador, Pasir Gudang Municipal Council winning Gold Award of International Convention on Quality Control Circles.

It is easy to glory in and rest on such incredible laurels. Yet as YAB Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled stated in the 2018 Mandate Council (Majlis Amanat 2018) held in Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios on February 4th; there should be no full stops, no finality to progress. Such excellent achievements should be seen as stepping stones to propel Johor to even greater heights in the decade to come – Dekad Baharu Johor 

What can Johoreans or more significantly Team Johor look forward to in The New Decade of Johor?

Firstly, top notch infrastructure for better connectivity. For instance, the KL-JB-Singapore High Speed Rail, Gemas-Johor Bahru Double Tracking Project, JB-Singapore Rapid Mass Transit and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project which is set to be completed in stages in the next decade. In hindsight, Johor’s ability to secure all these mega transportation projects is due to, among others, its good relationship with the federal government. These projects and many more future ones will come to fruition with both governments working hand in hand for the betterment of the Southern Gem of Malaysia.

Next, a drastic transformation of economic structure. One that is driven by science and technology, digitalization and innovation – The Economy of the future. It’s a new focus on start-ups, Internet of things, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence – core elements of the New Millennial Economy. This courageous transformation portrays the state government’s seriousness and commitment to find alternatives to current economic engines, as Johor prepares for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is how Johor will continue in its pursuit of becoming the Southern Economic Powerhouse, despite the possible waves of volatility and unpredictability of global economic markets. Johor cannot carry out the same old economic strategies, expecting the same results. As Herclitus wisely stated, ’Change is the Only Constant’.

Thirdly, reforming and improving governance and administration in the coming decade. Several practical steps were presented including transformation of work culture, a shift towards a digital ecosystem, communication through social media and digital platforms. One highly interesting transformation is optimizing the usage of ‘big data’ through social media analytics and intelligence to understand the core issues faced by society. This will enhance the state government’s efforts in addressing these needs and finding the best solutions possible, resulting in greater effectiveness and efficiency in governance.

Three other significant focuses of the next decades includes holistic human capital development especially among the younger generation better known as Orang Muda Johor (OMJ), increased efforts in environmental sustainability, religious and cultural preservation and finally enhanced quality of life, human security and well-being. As a whole, the strategies proposed embodies a comprehensive approach beyond conventional economic indicators such as Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and income levels. It’s more than merely money matters and alluring affluence. It’s about laudable liveability, intentional inclusiveness and exemplary ecosystems.

Now, why is there such a strong need for a Vision in the New Decade of Johor?

The Chief Minister (CM) explained realistically that this vision would act as a yardstick of performance which also serves to intensify the state government’s pressure to deliver. Besides, this vision unites the people and the government in a common focus towards a common goal. Without a steering wheel, the vehicle veers off track; without a rudder, the boat might run aground; Without a joystick, an aircraft flies nowhere near its destination. Without a tested driver, an experienced captain or a dependable pilot, people end up going in circles – lost in hopelessness.

Johoreans can rest assured that they are in the safe hands of a visionary leader with a leading vision, second to none. Johor is certainly heading towards the vision of not just pursuing economic growth but the greater vision of building an exceptional community – the best of Team Johor. And this, as aptly put by the CM of Johor is never an individual journey but a team effort.

As actions speak louder than words, the state government of Johor led by example by making sure representatives from every level and segment of society was invited to the 2018 Mandate Council; including civil servants, representatives from the private sector, Non-governmental organizations (NGO), religious bodies, sports athletes, social activists, youths, leaders of aboriginal community, FELDA community and many others which altogether amounted to 3,500 participants.

Now, that is truly Team Johor! Before ending his mandate, the CM fittingly reminded everyone of their role to play. In an intelligent play of words which received a rousing applause, he encouraged every member of Team Johor to ‘Betulkan Niat’, ‘Bangunkan Negeri’, ‘Belalah Negara’, ‘Berilah Nilai’, ‘Bawalah Nama’ which means correcting our motives, building our state, defending our country, contributing productively and bringing glory respectively. These 5 memorable slogans all begin with the alphabets ‘B’ ‘N’ which also ingeniously refers to Barisan Nasional.

With the hope that every Johorean will know and own this 2018 mandate, Johor is surely right on track for a brighter future ahead. Let us be united as Team Johor, for together, we are Unbeaten, Unparalleled and Unstoppable!

 

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