A former state executive councillor has urged Johor government to ensure that development plans are spread equally among all districts, including those in rural areas.
Kahang assemblyman R. Vidyanathan, who is also former Johor health and environment committee chairman, said rural areas were at times neglected and not given serious attention.
“Johor’s development should not only be focused on Iskandar Malaysia or the southern Johor region.
“It must be holistic, covering all 10 districts in the state, including rural areas.
“Basic facilities such as street lights, clean water supply and comfortable homes are among the things that are needed by those living in rural areas.
“By developing these areas and providing better facilities, we will be able to make a positive impact on people as a whole,” he said in his speech during the state assembly sitting in Bangunan Sultan Ismail, Kota Iskandar, Johor.
He noted that there were many issues related to basic facilities in his constituency that had yet to be resolved by relevant agencies.
“Among the reasons given by the agencies is insufficient budget.
“However, I notice that when it comes to town areas, applications can be approved easily.
“We are still trying to resolve the issue of clean water supply in an Orang Asli village in Kahang, a matter that has been brought up many times.
“Similarly, I have brought up flood and street light issues with the relevant agencies several times and I hope that the state government will take these matters seriously,” said Vidyanathan.
He also said Internet connectivity too must be improved in rural areas for better productivity and ensure that the rural population was not left out.
“The state government should ensure as well that affordable homes are available not only in town areas but also rural areas.
“Apart from that, an allocation should be set aside to help fix houses that are in dire condition, besides an initiative to provide subsidies to those who want to build homes on their own land,” he said.
On another matter, Vidyanathan stressed on the need for the state government to tackle the rising cost of living.
“The increase in the cost of living has been a huge burden to the people.
“It is important for the government to look into new initiatives and incentives to reduce the burden of the people.
“This could include providing training and education programmes to help the people increase their income.
“We also need to ensure that the people of Johor, who have completed their studies, are equipped with relevant skills for the future,” he said.
Additionally, Vidyanathan urged the state government to streamline the application process for the setting up of non-Muslim houses of worship.
“Presently, it takes a long time, even years, to approve an application and the process is lengthy and complicated.
“I hope that the state government can come out with better procedures to ease the process, as these houses of worship are not commercial or private premises but are for religious purposes,” he said.
On a related matter, he hoped that the state government would ensure that those tasked with developing estate areas would ensure temple reserve land was protected.
“I hope that local councils will take note of this matter.
“These temples have been around for many years and the relevant parties need to be alert and ensure that they are protected during the development process,” he said.