Thinking out of the box

There are plans in the pipeline to transform and develop Mersing district into the ‘Caribbean of the East’. — filepic

PASIR GUDANG: Johor’s economy has turned regional and global and it is not tied to the economic situation at the national level.

Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in order for Johor to emerge as the country’s economic powerhouse, it had to think beyond the box.

He said the future growth and development of the state must take into account the regional and global economic performances and challenges.

“We have to look beyond Malaysia and Johor’s economic planning must be able to reach the regional and global level,” said Mohamed Khaled.

He said in order for Johor to become the most developed state and an economic powerhouse, more players and companies from the state needed to expand their operations or activities beyond Johor.

Mohamed Khaled singled out the state investment arm Johor Corporation (JCorp) which had not only made its presence felt in Malaysia but also outside the country.

He said this to reporters in a press conference after opening the Koperasi Pelabuhan Johor Bhd AGM here on Saturday.

Mohammed Khaled said JCorp’s public-listed entity KPJ Healthcare Bhd not only has private specialist hospitals in Malaysia but also in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand.

Cooperative bodies in Johor should look at expanding or venturing into other business activities or operations which could provide a steady income flow into their coffers.

Mohamed Khaled said they have to compete with other business entities or big companies in view of the ever changing economy.

He said the days where cooperative bodies largely depended on generating revenue solely from their members or getting business contracts from their parent companies were no longer suitable.

“You have to have good business planning and strategies and always be on the lookout for good business potentials from time to time,” he added.

He said the progress and on-going development taking place in Iskandar Malaysia since the inception of the country’s first economic growth corridor for the past 10 years offered good business opportunities for cooperatives in south Johor.

Mohamed Khaled said the influx of domestic and foreign investors into Iskandar Malaysia would create demand for support services which the cooperatives could fulfil.

“For instance, the Johor’s imCoop Fair Price shop business model is a good way for the cooperatives to open the outlets not only to serve their members but also the public,’’ added Mohamed Khaled.

He said cooperative bodies in Italy and Japan ran and managed the old folks’ homes and they were generating good income as there was always demand for the health-related services for senior citizens there.

Presently, there are 1,255 cooperative bodies in Johor with 500,000 members and RM819mil in paid-out capital and last year, they recorded about RM801.7mil in turnover.

Mohamed Khaled also said plans were in the pipeline to transform and develop Mersing district in the north east, about 130km from here, as the “Caribbean of the East”.

He said Mersing, sandwiched between 40 unspoiled islands off South China Sea and the 200 million-year-old Endau-Rompin National Park, has the right ecosystem to be a regional tourism hub.

Mohamed Khaled said the Johor strategic growth plan would take into account the economic strengths and advantages of each district.

“We are focusing on developing and growing all districts in Johor and not only on certain districts or areas to benefit the people,” he said.

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