ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor’s rapid growth, which has been projected to continue in the next few years, may result in the state outperforming the Klang Valley in terms of contributions to the nation’s economy.

Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, said he was confident the state’s economic growth would continue to accelerate within the next 10 years due to factors such as the over-development in the Klang Valley and its lack of space for future development.

He said his confidence was also based on Johor receiving the highest amount of investment in the manufacturing sector for four consecutive years since 2013 and being among the highest contributors to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“If we want to compare among Johor, Selangor and Penang, Penang is a small state, whereas Selangor is benefiting from the spillover from Kuala Lumpur (KL).

“When KL spends around KL, Selangor benefits. We do not have that in Johor, but look at how the state has been developing now,” he told Bernama in his office in Kota Iskandar recently.

Johor’s economic growth was backed by its strength in various sectors, he said, adding that the state was the nation’s third biggest contributor in major economic sectors, except for the mining sector.

Mohamed Khaled, who was also the Joint Chairman for the Iskandar Region Development Authority, said that from 2011 to 2016, Johor’s economic growth had surpassed the nation’s economic growth rate, with an average of 5.9 per cent compared with Malaysia’s 5.1 per cent.

In 2016, the state’s GDP growth was recorded at 5.7 per cent, the third highest following Labuan (7.2 per cent) and KL (5.9 per cent).

In order to boost the state’s economic growth, the state authority had launched the Johor Strategic Development Plan in 2016, he said.

He said among other things, it included plans to capitalise on each district’s economic potential according to their respective niche and advantages.

For example, Muar would be developed as an education and furniture hub, while Mersing would be developed under the tourism sector, he said.

Mohamed Khaled, who is also the Permas Assemblyman, said the plan was crafted in such a way as it would be impossible for each district to be developing the same project.

“We do not want what is being done in Iskandar or Pengerang to be done in other districts, that is impossible.

“This is why we choose to develop each district according to their respective niche,” he said.

He said the rapid development in Johor Bahru, Pengerang and the Iskandar Malaysia Economic Region should not spark any jealousy among the residents in other districts, as the gains from the developments in those districts would be used to fund the developments in other districts in the state.

“The state government’s approach will ensure that the development in Johor is inclusive, balanced and ensures the people’s prosperity.

“If we do not have any development in any districts, especially in Iskandar and Pengerang, we will not have any resources or capability to develop other districts,” he said.

Mohamed Khaled said that by choosing to develop Johor in an inclusive and balanced manner, the state government would have to ensure that there would not be a large economic gap between the districts.

Source: Malaysian Digest