State govt stands firm in call for Malaysia-Singapore border to reopen

Helping hand: Mohd Izhar chatting with a food truck operator at a mall in Johor Baru before presenting a one-off RM3,000 grant each to 178 food truck operators.

JOHOR BARU: The struggling business environment in Johor, especially in the city, is reason enough for the state government to stand firm on its call to reopen the Malaysia-Singapore border, says Mohd Izhar Ahmad.

The Johor investment, cooperatives, entrepreneurship development and human resources committee chairman said traders and retailers were struggling to make ends meet, on top of having to continue paying rental despite the significant drop in business due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent movement control order imposed from March 18.

“Although the recent spike in Covid-19 cases is a cause for concern, the state government has presented its case in the government-to-government meetings on our steps to match their (Singapore’s) standard operating procedure to avoid new clusters.

“We have to strike a balance to ensure all interests – economic, security and health – are met, ” he said after handing out a one-off RM3,000 grant each to 178 food truck operators here yesterday.

Mohd Izhar is fully behind Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad who has been vocal about the need to reopen the border to spur local economic growth.

Meanwhile, he also said that he would be meeting with Larkin Sentral’s management and traders to find a solution to their problems tomorrow.

Retailers in Larkin Sentral, the bus terminal of Johor Baru, were among those badly affected by the economic slowdown and the management has waived their rental during the MCO period, he said, adding that starting July, rental was reduced with 30% to 50% discounts.

“The traders mostly want a waiver or discount to keep their business afloat but we will need to examine the management’s financial standing, as they too have commitments and operational costs to bear.”

The bus terminal is under the management of Damansara Assets Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the state investment arm Johor Corporation.

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