THE Johor state government has requested some RM7.674bil from the Federal government for infrastructure and rural development in the state under the 11th Malaysia Plan, which spans five years beginning 2015.
State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that the bulk of the allocation totalling RM3.06bil would go towards road upgrading involving 10 major road projects.
He added that under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2014), the state received RM8.5bil.
Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), it received RM13.76bil while under the Eighth Malaysia Plan (2001-2005), the state was allocated RM7.99bil.
Hasni said that the projects that need funding under the 11th Malaysia Plan include upgrading of the road from Gemas to Ayer Hitam, the Pasir Gudang Highway (third phase), the Muar to Tangkak to Segamat road (fifth package) and the road from Batu Pahat to Ayer Hitam.
“We are also looking at ways to upgrade the three major roads in Johor Baru, especially Jalan Tebrau, Jalan Skudai and Jalan Tun Abdul Razak.
“We need this allocation to help complete some of the projects which are already ongoing or have been delayed due to funding.
“Once all these projects are completed, there will be better connectivity in the state,” he added.
Hasni said the state was also looking at ways to improve connectivity from the east to the west of the state, especially with a better road system.
On public transportation, he said that RM2.8bil had been requested, including RM1.3bil for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects in Iskandar Malaysia.
“Part of the allocation will also be used to develop an integrated transport hub in Kempas, Muar, Batu Pahat and Nusajaya,” he added.
On the management of water resources, Hasni explained that a total of RM848mil had been requested for the purpose of building two new dams and upgrading the existing Congok dam.
He said that they had to find ways to better manage water resources, including improving water quality.
“The state cannot just resort to building more dams because they require a huge area.
“We should also have long-term plans to ensure sustainability in the future,” he added.
Hasni said the state hoped to collect RM50mil per year following the implementation of the new Water Enactment, which now requires anyone taking raw water to pay a levy to the state government.
“We hope the state’s revenue will increase with this new source of income. This levy will be for those taking raw water for plantations, underground water and even sea water,” he said.
According to Hasni, about 100 permits had been issued by the Johor Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj) so far.
He said there was also a need to improve the broadband penetration in the state, including providing people with access to the Internet.
“We also want to offer free Wi-Fi in buildings in some 40 locations statewide,” Hasni said, adding that the project was mainly targeting youths to enable them to access the Internet.
On other 11th Malaysia Plan requests under his portfolio, Hasni said that the state government needed RM483mil for rural projects, RM213mil to build more roads in the outskirts and RM160mil to build roads in villages.
“We also need RM110mil to supply water and electricity in the rural areas,” he added.