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Monday December 31, 2012

2012 was an eventful and momerable year for Johor

First in Asia: Legoland Malaysia in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia opened its doors in September. — filepic First in Asia: Legoland Malaysia in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia opened its doors in September. — filepic

THE year 2012 was certainly an eventful year for Johor.

Just a few days into the new year, news spread like wildfire that gold had been discovered at Jalan Mewah, Kampung Melayu in Johor Baru.

Hundreds of people, including those beyond the Johor Baru district as well as Singaporeans rushed to the area, hoping to strike it rich.

However, their hope was short-lived when the glittering stones were found to be worthless.

Experts identified the shiny stones as “fool’s gold”, which glow in the dark and shine under the sunlight due to its iron sulphide or pyrite content.

Over in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, the multi-billion development taking place there is all set to make southern Johor an international oil and gas (O&G) hub.

Located along one of the busiest shipping routes in the world and blessed with a deep draft (harbour water’s depth) and large tracts of land, Pengerang has all the makings to become the Rotterdam of South-East Asia.

Fool’s rush: People digging for gold at Kampung Melayu, Johor Baru in January. — filepic Fool’s rush: People digging for gold at Kampung Melayu, Johor Baru in January. — filepic

The launch of the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) complex in May marked the highly ambitious project which will eventually help transform the laidback Pengerang into a new O&G hub.

The RM60bil complex and its proposed 300,000 barrels-per-day crude oil refinery capacity is larger than the combined capacity of Petronas’ existing refineries in Malacca, Kertih and Gebeng.

In September, Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia became the venue of Asia’s first Legoland Theme Park.

The US$200mil (RM612mil) theme park, built on a 30.75ha site, caters to families with children from two to 12 years old, boasting 40 rides, shows and other attractions.

The state also bade farewell to a few personalities who passed away this year — MCA veteran member and former Pontian MP Law Lai Heng, who passed away at age 77, in July.

In September, braveheart and spirited teenager Tee Hui Yi, who underwent a double heart transplant in 2007, passed away at her hometown in Batu Pahat.

The 19-year old, who had survived a mechanical heart before the two transplants, died at the Batu Pahat Hospital at 10.02am, the day she was to start work as a kindergarten teacher.

Philanthropist and prominent figure Tan Sri Kuek Ho Yao, who was also the cousin of billionaire Tan Sri Robert Kuok passed away in October at the age of 96.

In November, Datin Paduka Prof Dr Jamilah Ariffin, the wife of Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman launched her latest book, Seorang Profesor Bersama NGO Juita: Perkongsian Bijak Dalam Kerja Amal Kebajikan Masyarakat.

She hoped that associations, non-governmental organisations and youths would use the book as a benchmark and reference material for social work and volunteerism.

In November, Muar was declared as Johor’s royal town.

The proclamation of Bandar Maharani (Empress Town) as a royal town was made by Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in conjunction with his birthday celebration which was held in the town.

Johor Baru was chosen to host the 8th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in December — the first edition of the event held outside the capital of a host nation since it was launched in October 2005.

Some 2,600 local as well as foreign delegates and speakers from 50 countries attended the event themed “Changing Trends, New Opportunities”.

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