Bernama 26 Nov 15;
NUSAJAYA, Nov 26 (Bernama) - Flood alleviation is part of the RM1.3 million Johor Sustainability Policy study which when completed in six months, will be assessed by a panel of consultants comprising academicians and environmentalists.
State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the panel will be chaired by geologist Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Komoo, who is also head of Natural Resources and Environment cluster of the National Council of Professors.
"The study will cover various aspects of environmental sustainability and biodiversity," he told reporters during a break of the state assembly sitting at Kota Iskandar here, today.
A RM1.1 million allocation has been set aside for a Flood Action Plan to identify areas prone to flash floods and to draw up short term and long term solutions.
"It is one of the areas of focus of the Johor Sustainability Policy which also includes soil erosion, biodiversity, pollution, wildlife and flora and fauna," said Ayub.
He added that the state government plans to build a dugong (seacow) sanctuary at Pulau Sibu and has approved an allocation of RM1 million to conduct research and study.
"The dugong is fast becoming extinct. In 2011, only 17 dugong were found in Johor waters. The following year, four to five dugong were found dead."
New water treatment plants
YEE XIANG YUNandKATHLEEN ANN KILI The Star 27 Nov 15;
NUSAJAYA: Three new water treatment plants will be built in Johor to overcome the water crisis using part of the RM430mil allocated by the state government to upgrade water facilities.
Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the water treatment plants in Buluh Kasap in Segamat, Pagoh in Muar and Kahang in Kluang were the main projects to be carried out by Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd.
He said the old pipes throughout the state would also be replaced to upgrade water facilities and services in Johor.
“We hope to improve the water supply services in Johor with these initiatives and overcome various water issues, especially in Pasir Gudang and Pengerang,” he said when announcing the state budget at the state assembly here recently.
Besides that, he said the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) would also conduct research to focus on water regulatory methods and the implementation of buffer zones in catchment areas.
He added that the RM57mil allocated by the Federal Government under the 11th Malaysia Plan would also allow the state to conduct feasibility studies on water sources in Sungai Muar and environmental impact studies in Mersing.
“The fund would also include infrastructural developments such as building barrages and dams as well as upgrading dams in Johor,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state government plans to improve flood mitigation works, drainage system and sewerage maintenance projects by increasing the developer contribution collection rate by 150%.
He said developers would be required to pay RM10,000 per 0.4ha for areas under the local councils’ jurisdiction while those under municipal councils were required to pay RM5,000 per 0.4ha.
In similar developments, Mohamed Khaled said that RM1mil would be allocated to identify flash flood areas and draw up short and long-term plans to solve the matter.
Inclusive and sustainable
AHMAD FAIRUZ OTHMAN New Straits Times 26 Nov 15;
It was the most anticipated state budget in years as it was announced amidst the strongest performance in investments flowing into Johor.
Certainly, Johor folk were waiting for announcements that would address their needs in a significant way. They received all that and more, as the state government tabled a surplus budget for the fifth consecutive year.
Last Thursday, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin tabled the highest amount ever allocated by the state government for development expenditure.
At more than RM500 million, the allocation for Johor’s development has gone up by almost 50 per cent compared with last year’s allocation for the same purpose.
Khaled said this was the highest amount dedicated to development in the history of the state’s budget.
To break it down in numbers, the state government tabled an estimated expenditure of RM541 million for development, which is an increase of 47.76 per cent from the RM366.20 million it set aside for development last year.
The RM541 million will be for physical, social and other projects of public importance under the Johor Menteri Besar’s Office (RM155 million); economic programmes (RM213 million); infrastructure and amenities (RM95 million); Islamic religious development (RM45 million); and drainage and irrigation projects (RM33 milion).
Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Datuk Loh Liam Hiang said the higher allocation for development was an impressive move by the state government.
“The world’s economy is not at its best right now, but the state government decided to allocate more for infrastructure to spur the local market.
“When a state government tables a higher budget than in previous years, even when the market is generally quiet, then you know it can only bring good things,” said Loh.
He said Johor was also a big contributor to the country’s economy, and a higher state budget would help the state hold on to its pole position in attracting foreign and domestic investments in the country.
A Johorean cabinet minister had much praise for the Johor budget, which was themed “Inclusive, Sustainable and for the Wellbeing of the People”.
Defence Minister and Sembrong member of parliament Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein described the budget as all-encompassing, adding that it would directly benefit the constituents in Sembrong.
“The Johor Economic Strategic Development Plan and Water Supply Project will give a lot of benefits to #Sembrong, thank you MB @KhaledNordin,” tweeted Hishammuddin.
He was referring to the RM3 million allocation to develop niche economic activities in each of the 10 districts in Johor, and the new water treatment plant in Kahang, Sembrong.
The state budget also mentioned that the Kluang district, which includes the Sembrong parliamentary constituency, would grow to become a hub for eco-tourism and agriculture.
The new water treatment plant in Kahang was among three plants to be built, along with repair works for pipes statewide, costing RM430 million.
Another new initiative was the introduction of the Johor Affordable Housing Financial Scheme in collaboration with AmBank Islamic Bhd. The RM300 million fund will help target groups to receive housing loans.
Johor Indian Business
Association president P. Sivakumar said the move would alleviate the burden faced by housebuyers, as some were finding it difficult to buy a house.
“A two-room apartment can exceed RM200,000 in major cities such as Johor Baru and throughout Iskandar Malaysia. The fund will give a chance for buyers to own comfortable homes,” he said.
Sivakumar was equally excited over the plan to rejuvenate Johor Baru’s downtown area through the Ibrahim International Business District project, which was announced in the state budget and officially launched by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, last Sunday.
The tourism industry in Johor also received several allocations, including RM2 million to upgrade facilities at three national parks and one marine park, and another RM1 million to develop agro-tourism.
However, hotel and public relations consultant Yvonne Loh urged the state government to do more in attracting tourists who enter Johor via Singapore.
“We must remember that Johor is the gateway for many tourists entering Malaysia. There is still much to be done. We must tap into the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese expatriate communities in Singapore, who prefer to go somewhere closer such as Johor whenever they go on holiday,” said Loh.
Bernama 26 Nov 15;