Dreaming of places to explore in Johor post-MCO

Bamboo trees at the Edible Park in Iskandar Puteri.

FOR a brief period, we enjoyed travelling to local destinations during the easing of the movement control order in July, August and last month.

What a treat it was, as we took weekend getaways to Melaka, Desaru, the nearby hill resorts like Genting Highlands for those living in the Klang Valley, and off-the-track gems like Pulau Pemanggil, off Mersing.

Now, unfortunately, we are restricted once again in our travels until the pandemic eases.

However, a recent article on Medini in Johor reminded me of what unique locations await us in the southern region.

I have always been fascinated with names of locations. I was enthralled to find out that Medini is a Sanskrit word for earth, ground or soil.

It was natural for the southern-most tip of the Asian continent to be called Ujong Tanah or Ujung Medini before.

As a born-and-bred Johorean, there are a few places I faithfully visit each time I am back home.

Who wouldn’t love having a picnic by the waterfront in Puteri Harbour while looking at the skyline of our neighbouring country, Singapore, over the Straits of Johor?

The scenic views of the sea and the greenery give me relief from the concrete jungle in Kuala Lumpur where I live at the moment.

It is amazing to know that Medini has more than 40 public parks, a fact that local homeowners would appreciate.

A quick search online shows that there are a multitude of activities for the local community ranging from talks on agriculture, potting plants and plant adoption to recycling and healthcare.

Many cities have grown organically, with buildings appearing like mushrooms after rainfall.

Early last year, I took the liberty of driving around Medini when my newly-married son expressed a wish of moving to that township.

He told me that he came to the decision after looking at the all-round qualities that the township had, together with the nearby EduCity.

Looking at the schools, colleges and universities there, I don’t think my future grandchildren would ever need to get out of town until they graduate!

The article mentioned Medini’s “smart city” plans.

What exactly is a smart city?

Apparently, it connects the latest technology to have a more efficient way of operating the city, connecting to the community and paying heed to the quality of life and welfare of the citizens.

I never expected to see user-centricity of the community being a central part of a township’s development. Back in the day, we chose property that fed into the trend at the time.

What I also found interesting about Medini was the lease scheme.

From what I understand, this enables owners of freehold land to sell the lease to their land to parties interested to develop the said land.

I am sure there are many owners of ancestral land who cannot afford to do anything with their land, therefore leaving it untouched for years.

This scheme opens the doors of opportunity for us to develop land without having to lose ownership.

Perhaps, such a scheme should be expanded throughout the country as an alternative approach to land development.

Imagine the benefits that this alternative approach offers to the vast numbers of villagers or those living on the fringes of urban areas who own ancestral land but have left it idle as they lack financial means.

In any case, together with the hidden gems that Medini has to offer, I believe it is an ideal place for elderly citizens like me, young couples, and even foreign retirees.

As for the economic buzz, Medini has its own “Silicon Valley” with digital-related businesses booming at its location including a “blockchain village” among the global powerhouses there.

This in the long run will create a huge pool of local talent and jobs in multiple sectors. It will attract more business giants to set up shop in this township.

It is high time Johor gives Singapore a run for its money!

Meanwhile, I eagerly await this MCO being lifted to give me a chance to explore my home state with places such as Kampung Sungai Melayu and the highly-recommended Edible Park – what an interesting concept, besides indulging in nature activities like bird-watching.

Until then, I can only dream of beautifully landscaped cities and the best of the best in Malaysia to explore.

Ismail Abdullah

Kuala Lumpur

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