Jetco will be Johor’s first venture to set up a formal office representing the state’s interest overseas.
Talk is rife that a member of the Johor Civil Service (JCS) will be picked to manage the office.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad has been upbeat about setting up this office, saying that Jetco will break through the new economic, cultural and tourism narrative post Covid-19.
Some have touted it as Johor’s “mini” consul-general, similar to Singapore consul-general’s office in Johor Baru.
Singapore also has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.
While it is good to set up an office in Singapore to boost ties, clear guidelines need to be set to ensure Jetco does not duplicate the work already being carried out by various government agencies.
Some of the federal agencies such as the Foreign Services, Home Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) and the Human Resources Ministry have representatives in Singapore and mostly operate from the Malaysian High Commission there.
Jetco should play a complementary role to be a one-stop centre for people to know everything and anything about Johor.
Their scope should not just be limited to trade and investment but also involve the state’s many tourism products, healthcare, agricultural produce and even tertiary education.
There should be annual KPIs set for everyone in the office to meet, with periodical reviews on their performances.
Those who perform well should be given a good remuneration or bonus package.
Those picked for the office should be proactive and willing to engage with the different segments of society and groups in Singapore.
They should be pleasant with good interpersonal and communication skills, along with a good command of the English language.
Jetco should also organise regular trade visits to Johor, involving heads from the various sectors in Singapore.
During these sessions, Hasni and his team of state executive councillors could also participate in dialogue sessions, as this will help investors get first-hand information about Johor.
Such gatherings organised by Miti in the past have been well received.
There were large turnouts, especially from Singapore small and medium enterprises.
While it may be exciting for Johor to have an overseas office, a lot of effort is needed for the office to be useful and relevant in welcoming Singaporeans and also translating the state’s hopes and aspirations to foreigners.
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