Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor chairman Vincent Chow said there was a lack of engagement between the Johor government and environmental NGOs in the state.
“We must address environmental-related issues in Johor together,’’ he said.
Chow said everyone in Johor must take ownership of the state’s natural heritage and act accordingly.
“Side-lining environmental NGOs will not be productive.”
He said there were many environment-related issues that needed immediate attention from the state government, including river pollution and deforestation.
“Failing to address and resolve the problems will result in long-term effects for Johor, including a water crisis as raw water supply from rivers are contaminated,’’ he said.
Chow added that Johor must ensure forest reserves or jungles in the state were not encroached by humans for illegal agriculture or logging activities as they were the main water catchment areas.
Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo said both the state and Federal governments were not sensitive to the role of NGOs.
“We can be of great help. We can become the eyes and ears of the government and policymakers,’’ he said.
Md Salleh said the association needed between RM40,000 and RM50,000 yearly to organise activities and programmes on consumerism.
He said the money would be used to organise seminars on consumerism, monitor prices of goods to prevent profiteering as well as keep an eye on cleanliness at food and beverage outlets.
He lamented that the association did not get any grants to carry out its work despite repeated requests.
“We used to get a RM20,000 yearly grant from the previous government,’’ he added.
As for Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba) president P. Sivakumar, he hoped the year 2020 would bring some good news to the Indian community in the state.
He said the last two state budgets saw a drastic drop in funds for the community, with a meagre RM3mil grant for two consecutive years.
“We used to get a RM8mil grant under the previous government.
“Our role is to support the micro businesses and we hope the state government will extend additional funds for the Indian community to start such businesses,’’ he said.
Sivakumar said the cost of living in Johor Baru was high, forcing many Johoreans to hold two jobs to support their families.
“Another long overdue wish is for the district councils to come up with fair distribution of small contracts to all, irrespective of race,” he said.
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