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 over the next 10 years due to factors such as over-development of 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 Johor, Selangor and Penang, Penang is a small state, whereas Selangor is benefiting from the spillover from Kuala Lumpur.
“When KL spends, 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.
Khaled, who is also the joint chairman for the Iskandar Region Development Authority (Irda), 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 after 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 advantages.
For example, Muar would be developed as an education and furniture hub, while Mersing would be developed under the tourism sector, he said.
Khaled, who is also the Permas assemblyman, said the plan was crafted in such a way so that it would be impossible for each district to develop the same projects.
“We do not want what is being done in Iskandar or Pengerang to be done in other districts.
“This is why we choose to develop each district according to their respective strengths,” he said.
He said the rapid development in Johor Bahru, Pengerang and the Iskandar Malaysia Economic Region should not spark any jealousy among residents in other districts.
He said the gains from the development in those districts would be used to fund the development in other districts in the state.
“The state government’s approach will ensure that development in Johor is inclusive, balanced and ensures the people’s prosperity.
“If we do not have any development in any district, especially in Iskandar and Pengerang, we will not have any resources or capability to develop other districts,” he said.
Khaled said that by choosing to develop Johor in an inclusive and balanced manner, the state government would have to ensure there is no large economic gap between the districts. – Bernama