JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin yesterday reminded Johoreans not to be influenced by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticisms of the Forest City development project in Gelang Patah near here.
Khaled said the former prime minister’s allegations that the Forest City involved land being sold to foreigners were not true.
“If he does not criticise, then it will not be Tun Dr Mahathir. He is just looking for publicity.
“Forest City is only 0.01 per cent of the state, so why is Tun Dr Mahathir focusing attention on this project.
“Why should such a small percentage be given attention and the people should not be easily influenced,” he told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony of the Sekolah Agama Bandar Seri Alam 2 project here yesterday.
Khaled said the Forest City project would generate development in the state as Johor does not have major and valuable natural resources like other states such as Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu.
“Johor does not have major natural resources, no oil, gas, and we no longer encourage logging.
“We do not have products.
“So, we develop small ones (Forest City) which will boost Johor’s economic growth because if there is no economic growth, we cannot develop the people.
“Johor is also not like Selangor which is located in the Klang Valley which benefit from the federal government’s development. Johor has to think of ways to develop itself.
“So, Tun Dr Mahathir is not helping when he targets Forest City. He does not understand Johor and he only understands Klang Valley,” he said.
Three days ago, in his speech at PPBM’s first annual general assembly in Shah Alam, Mahathir, who is also the party chairman, claimed that Forest City was also another case of land being sold to foreigners to pay for the country’s debts.
On a separate matter, Khaled said the Johor government had allocated RM185.5 million to build 30 state religious schools this year.
He said Johor was committed to developing religious education in the state as it was its objective to ensure that religious schools remain relevant in line with technological developments.
He said the Johor government was also developing digital applications for religious schools at a cost of RM14 million to benefit students.
To date, there are four religious schools in the pioneer project which are using digital applications. They include Sekolah Menengah Agama Kerajaan Johor (Maahad) and Sekolah Agama Bandar here. – Bernama