Current Affairs

Johor BN eyes Singapore in bid to make ‘Southern Tiger’ roar


JOHOR BARU, April 14 — The Johor Barisan Nasional (BN) has set Singapore as the economic benchmark to beat in the next five years in its GE14 pledge.

State BN chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin said his administration has had enough of Johor being labelled the backyard to the Lion City and is now mustering to pounce and surpass its southern neighbour’s economic might.

“We will not let Johor simply to become anyone’s backyard.

“In this case, Johor’s Southern Tiger will start showing its fangs and stripes in this specific mission that I will call Chasing the Lion,” he said to a 3,000-strong audience while launching the Johor BN 14th general election manifesto at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre here today.

For decades, Johor has been economically disadvantaged compared with Singapore, with thousands of Malaysians crossing the Causeway where salaries are nearly three times that in Malaysia, after the currency exchange rate is taken into account.

At the same time, Johor Baru is also a main destination for Singaporeans to shop, dine, travel and even own properties due to their stronger currency.

The Johor BN manifesto themed “Team Johor for a New Decade: Offers for the Future” seeks to raise the state’s position as the country’s southern economic powerhouse, business competition, and improving the welfare and increasing the wealth of Bangsa Johor.

Incumbent Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Samad later told reporters that Johor can reach even further heights as it had ample human and natural resources compared to Singapore, but needed a benchmark to measure its growth.

“Johor is able to compete with Singapore as the state has many resources and this is where we want to bring the state forward.

“We have set our targets to use Singapore as a benchmark as Johor does not want to be like Singapore,” he said, without elaborating.

Shahril, who is also the BN Backbenchers’ Club chairman, took a swipe at the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto, saying the latter was based on emotions.

“Unlike the Opposition’s aims, the state-level leadership showed a clear direction in their administration to the people.

“Johor BN is clear about the direction for the state and we have to have a benchmark to know where we want to go.

“Johor has potential and if we want to go after the Southern Lion, we need to have the spirit of global competitiveness,” said Shahrir.

There are 230 offers under five main thrusts for Johor in the manifesto. The five thrusts are for a prosperous economy, providing comprehensive infrastructure, the development of mind, talent and skills, high performance leadership and sustainable, Islamic and cultured society.

Malaysia goes to the polls on May 9.

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