Malaysia, Johor: Plan to rejuvenate Sungai Segget

‘Gem of Johor Baru City’ set to make the place vibrant
ZAZALI MUSA The Star 27 Jun 16;

JOHOR BARU: The on-going multi-billion ringgit project to rehabilitate and rejuvanate Sungai Segget into the new 1.2km waterway in Johor Baru city centre is progressing as scheduled, according to Iskandar Malaysia Regional Development Authority chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

Dubbed as the “Gem of Johor Baru City”, it is also a new tourist attraction which is poised to transform the city into a vibrant place within the next five to seven years.

The opening up and cleaning of Sungai Segget was an ambitious plan to transform the city centre, Ismail said adding that the “RM270mil is part of the RM1.8bil allocation by the Federal Government to be utilised for the rehabilitation and rejuvenation work of the river including its beautification.”

Works on the river will start either in the third or fourth-quarter of the year including landscaping its surrounding.

Ismail said Johor Baru denizens could look forward to a “new Sungai Segget” which would be transformed and fully-functional by the end of 2017.

He said phase one of the work involved the construction of centralise sewerage treatment plan to enhance water quality through reducing pollutant loads to Straits of Tebrau.

“It is vital to transform the Johor Baru city centre in tandem with its position as one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia,” added Ismail.

First phase of Johor Baru river rejuvenation to complete by year-end
CHUAH BEE KIM New Straits Times 22 Jun 16;

JOHOR BARU: The first phase of the Sungai Segget rejuvenation project comprising two packages is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim urged the public to bear with the inconveniences for now.

"The Sungai Segget rejuvenation and upgrading works is part of Johor Baru City Transformation Plan, which is one of the five flagship projects under the long-term Johor Baru Transformation Plan," Ismail said.

"The river cleaning and flood mitigation which is under Package 1 and Package 2 of the first phase should be ready, hopefully by the fourth quarter of the year.

"Following the completion of the river cleaning and flood mitigation will be the landscaping works which will take a few more months," said Ismail after the launch of the third Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA), an annual event to give recognition to the unsung heroes who have contributed to the local community.

Traders and workers in the city centre have been affected by the ongoing works to re-open Sungai Segget, which is part of the river's rejuvenation project.

The works has reduced the four-lane main thoroughfare of Jalan Wong Ah Fook into a one-lane street.

Sundry shop owner Heng Siew Hoon, 57, said her business dropped by 50 per cent since the works began two years ago.

"Luckily, I still have food operators in the vicinity who walk to the shop to get their supplies from me. If not, my shop would have to close down.

"Many customers do not come to the shop any more because they cannot find any nearby parking," Heng said, when interviewed by the New Straits Times.

S. Pranay, 39, who works in one of the shopping malls nearby, said he faced difficulty getting a taxi to work.

"A taxi driver once told me he tries to avoid using Jalan Wong Ah Fook since the four-lane road was reduced to a single lane. I don't drive. The lack of taxis plying the route has forced me to car pool or take a bus," Pranay said.

Package 1 of the Sungai Segget rejuvenation project, which comprised river cleaning and construction of an underground sewage treatment plant, was initially slated for completion by the end of 2015. Package 2 involved flood mitigation and beautification project.

IRDA was tasked with the RM220 million project to carry out the works.

It was delayed due to a design change and site coordination issues, and was supposed to have been completed this month.

However, IRDA advisory council member Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad later said the project will only be fully completed by 2017.

Changing the face of Johor Baru
SALLEH BUANG New Straits Times 23 Jun 16;

Johor Baru residents are facing exciting times ahead as their city is being transformed from its hodge-podge landscape of uneven development today into a world-class metropolis of tomorrow.

Last November, in conjunction with his 57th birthday celebrations, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar officially launched the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre. Johor Corporation (JCorp), as master developer, plans to turn the 101ha IIBD site into a “metropolis of international standard”.

Simultaneously launched was a mixed-use development called Coronation Square, the first project under IIBD, with a gross development value (GDB) of RM3 billion, to be completed in 10 years. It comprises six towers (a hotel, a hotel with residences, an office, high-rise medical suites and two serviced apartment towers) and a mall with an estimated gross floor area of 80,000 sq ft. It will be yet another landmark in a city now mushrooming with other mega landmarks reaching for the sky.

This new IIBD master plan is now on public display at Komtar JBCC until July 3. According to JCorp president and chief executive, Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim, Johor residents are invited to see the plan for themselves and give their views on four major issues — business, green, heritage and connectivity. “We want Johoreans to play their role and be part of this development,” he had said.

In respect of land use, IIBD will not be dominated by its commercial area (51 per cent) because there is also significant room for green and open spaces (21 per cent), institutions (14 per cent), residential areas (nine per cent) and parking spaces (two per cent).

Kamaruzzaman said the cost of the IIBC transformation plan ranged from RM20 billion to RM25 billion. No deadline has been set for the completion of the entire transformation plan. The area covered by the IIBC is bordered by Jalan Ayer Molek (in the west), Jalan Tun Sri Lanang (in the south), Jalan Tun Abdul Razak (in the east) and Jalan Seri Lalang (in the north).

The transformation plan will bear in mind the “rich tapestry of heritage and culture which reflects Johor Baru’s rich history dating over 150 years”, said Kamaruzzaman. Steps will be taken to safeguard, preserve and conserve the old parts of Johor Baru city, allowing for a beautiful blend of the old and new.

He assured the public that JCorp would continue to engage with all stakeholders, including the Johor Baru City Council, Johor Economic Planning Unit and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) to ensure the smooth implementation of the project in the years ahead.

Johor Baru residents have long endured their city of haphazard narrow streets with old shophouses, and in recent years, dotted by newly-built structures such as Komtar, JBCC and City Square.

An attempt by the authorities to beautify and upgrade the dirty and smelly Sungai Segget a decade ago met with limited success. In late 2013, the reopening of Sungai Segget was undertaken through the JB Transformation blueprint of IRDA, in collaboration with the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB). Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

Not many Malaysians know that Johor Baru was formerly known as Tanjung Puteri or Iskandar Puteri.

Founded in 1855, it was renamed “Johor Baru” in 1862, becoming the capital of the Johor sultanate and its administration centre. Modern development came during the reign of Sultan Abu Bakar. Johor Baru was granted city status on Jan 1, 1994.

Nik Ramly (not his real name), a city planner who knows a great deal about the IIBD transformation plan, told me recently that the IIBD was envisaged as a liveable city in the same class as Vancouver, Sydney and Newcastle of England.

It is planned to be a smart city, integrating the features of a people city, a green city, a connected city, a knowledge city, a business city and a creative city. It is a city not of brick and mortar, but a city with a soul, “the soul of Bangsa Johor”, he said.

Within its 101ha site, there will be a retail district, financial district and cultural district, with sufficient room for a new commercial development, lifestyle development, transit station, waterfront, high street and health hub. Existing landmarks, such as Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim, will be preserved as heritage sites.

The IIBD site lies in the heartland of the much larger MBJB, measuring 21,468 ha. The latter is within Flagship A (one of the five Flagships of Iskandar Malaysia), consisting of the JB City Centre, JB Central Business District (now transformed and renamed as IIBD), JB Conservation & Heritage Zone, and Danga Bay.

Iskandar Malaysia, established on Nov 8, 2006, has an even larger area, 2,217 sq km in size. It is administered by IRDA under the IRDA Act 2007 (Act 664).

In short, IIBD’s future development must take into consideration various legislation and instruments already in place. These include (other than Act 664) the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172), the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171), the Johor Structure Plan, the MPJB Local Plan, and two Comprehensive Development Plans (CDP 2006-2025 and CDPii 2014-2025) prepared under Act 664.

MBJB is the local authority under Act 171 and the local planning authority under Act 172.

Whether IIBD will be made a distinctive legal entity in the future remains to be seen.

Salleh Buang formerly served the Attorney-General’s Chambers before he left for practice, the corporate sector and, then, academia

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