ISKANDAR Regional Development Authority (Irda) will intensify its plans in complementing development goals set by the state government under Johor Budget 2022.
Irda chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said Iskandar Malaysia’s development in economic, social and environment aspects had always been approached holistically.
“Its inclusive agenda, which touches the various groups of the rakyat, matches goals and theme of the state’s 2022 budget that was tabled by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
“It is only natural for us to take up this challenge next year by expanding and accelerating our planned projects and programmes to meet needs,” he said in a statement.
Ismail added that as an economic region, the new economic impetus of “Renewing Investment and Green Economy Ecosystem” under the state budget would provide a much-needed boost to rebuilding confidence and encouraging investment into Iskandar Malaysia.
He said announcement of the Johor Green Deal roadmap would further spur awareness and interest among the growing number of investors who would be driven by environmentally-friendly business operations.
Ismail said the green economy investments were a recognition of the Iskandar Malaysia Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2019, a joint report by Irda and five local authorities, namely Johor Baru City Council, Iskandar Puteri City Council, Pasir Gudang City Council, Kulai Municipal Council and Pontian Municipal Council.
He also said that Iskandar Malaysia was particularly enthusiastic about the announcement to enhance food security in the state.
With modern farming being one of the newly promoted sectors in the region, he said the RM34mil budget for agriculture and agro-based programmes provided to Johor by the Finance Ministry and the creation of Johor Agrofood Policy would become the catalyst to kick-start initiatives here.
“In fact, since the announcement, we have had several engagements with relevant and interested stakeholders from local as well as foreign agencies and companies on implementing and delivering the project.
“We should see something emerging on the ground in 2022,” he said.
On the tourism industry, Ismail said the sector would get a much-needed boost next year.
“Special incentives for tourism players and sector stimulus, plus upgrading of tourism infrastructure and marketing activities, are seen as reinforcing the reopening and recovery of hotels, malls, theme parks and medical centres in Iskandar Malaysia,” he added.
Ismail said under expanding digitalisation efforts in the state, Irda believed that its ongoing Iskandar Malaysia Urban Observatory (IMUO) project would contribute to the Digital Johor Masterplan.
He added that while the economy remained the key driver for Johor Budget 2022, especially on the road to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, social development had also taken a chunk of the limelight.
Ismail said implementation strategies that would directly impact the people included Agenda Digital Johor, Johor Niaga, Prasarana Johor, Masyarakat Desa Johor, Orang Muda Johor, Johor Madani and Johor Prihatin.
“Whether it is about building infrastructure and facilities, empowering the youth, funding entrepreneurs and SMEs, rejuvenating villages or helping the less fortunate, major inclusion of these programmes shows Johor’s intention to ensure that locals continue to prosper.
“Iskandar Malaysia has embarked on such programmes and initiatives under its social framework.
“Grants, reskilling and upskilling, and capacity programmes under its SECURE@IskandarMalaysia initiative have benefited around 4,500 people this year alone and similar programmes are in the pipeline for 2022,” he said.
Ismail believed that with projects such as the Iskandar Rapid Transit (IRT), Sungai Segget landscape and upgrading of Jalan Wong Ah Fook, and Regional Hub@Iskandar, Iskandar Malaysia would continue to provide spillover benefits to people in the region in addition to Johoreans.
“We have various projects, programmes and initiatives that already meet the strategies and aims of the state’s 2022 budget.
“More importantly, we are upbeat about the opportunities and are taking a proactive approach to quickly realise these plans for the benefit of both Iskandar Malaysia and Johor,” he said.