‘Cleanliness has taken a back seat’

Signing the MOU to collaborate on the Greater Johor Baru agenda are (from left) Johor Professionals Association chairman Farik Abd Ghaffar, Pasir Gudang mayor Datuk Asman Shah Abd Rahman, Mohd Noorazam, Iskandar Puteri mayor Datuk Mohd Haffiz Ahmad, Kulai Municipal Council president Natazha Hariss and Malaysia Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Johor chairman Wong Boon Lang Witnessing the signing are Onn Hafiz (standing, left) and state housing and local government committee chairman Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor.

AS the state embarks on major projects and plans including the Greater Johor Baru (Greater JB) agenda, it is still the little things, such as cleanliness, that matter, says Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

In order to get Johor recognised as a developed state by 2030, he said cleanliness was a basic requirement that tended to be overlooked.

He added that lack of enforcement was not helping the situation either.

“It is one of the main concerns of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar who will usually bring it up during my weekly audience with him.

“We cannot forget the small things. Johor will always be compared to our neighbour Singapore,” he said.

As such, Onn Hafiz said they have been going to the ground to conduct spot checks and participate in weekly gotong-royong as part of the Clean Johor initiative.

“However, the government’s efforts alone are not enough. We need the cooperation of professionals, non-governmental organisations and the public to achieve this,” he said in his speech during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Greater JB.

Onn Hafiz said nine groups involved in engineering, architecture and construction under the Johor Professionals Association (Decco+) had been roped in to play a part in making the Greater JB agenda a success.

He believes the signing of the MOU between Johor Baru City Council, Iskandar Puteri City Council, Pasir Gudang City Council, Kulai Municipal Council and the nine groups would allow better collaboration and exchange of ideas to make Greater JB a reality.

Decco+ is made up of the Malaysia Architects Association southern chapter, Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association, Institution of Engineers Malaysia southern branch, Johor Master Builders Association, Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia, Malaysia Institute of Planners, Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia, Malaysia Arborist Association and Malaysia Consulting Architects Association.

Johor Baru mayor Datuk Mohd Noorazam Osman said the MOU with Decco+ was vital to the state government’s efforts to develop a smart city that was low in carbon emission and safe.

“This can be done via building plan requirements set by the local councils involved.

“We will hold knowledge and problem-sharing sessions.

“Among the things we will discuss are the existing construction procedures according to current and future needs.

“For example, constructing drains and planting trees used to be left for the final stages but those things should be given more thought after taking climate change into account.

“Rest assured that the councils will make sure everyone complies with the guidelines,” he added.

Mohd Noorazam said the Greater JB agenda comprised 10 core pillars and 147 initiatives.

These include smart city coordination, strengthening the socio-economy, having a more efficient administration and environment management.

The four councils will also champion different initiatives that will eventually be implemented.

The agenda, he said, took inspiration from the United Kingdom where Greater London, governed by the Greater London Authority, organises its 32 local boroughs to streamline policies, trade, services and systems for the benefit of the people, investors and stakeholders.

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