PETALING JAYA: Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong has refuted the state’s claim that its economy is doing well, claiming that projects such as the high-end developments in the Iskandar Development Region are not benefitting ordinary folk.
The Kluang MP alleged that municipal services had not improved, the roads and drains were still dirty, and public transportation did not seem to improve with road congestion persisting.
“Even outside southern Johor, a simple yet very major component of government service – the quality and sustainability of water supply – has not improved in the past four years,” he said in a statement today.
He added that some high-rise projects by developers from China had taken away public beaches and turned the areas there into private spaces.
On Oct 7, Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin had expressed confidence over the federal government’s initiatives to boost the state’s socio-economic development.
He said the state’s own development agenda was based on meticulous planning and preparation, and done in line with the federal authorities’ national development agenda.
He said this after Prime Minister Najib Razak launched the Developed Johor Expo 2017 at Kota Iskandar that day. Najib also launched the public transport facility Bas Rapid Transit (BRT), the Johor Skills Master Plan, Public Housing Programme and the Sustainable National Programme at the event.
Liew said if Johor’s prosperity was shared, the number of Malaysians crossing the causeway to Singapore every day, mostly for work, would not increase from 200,000 to 300,000 between 2013 and today.
“If they could get their share of prosperity at home, there is no need for them to commute daily to Singapore as foreign workers,” he said, adding that Johor’s small towns were having their economies sustained by remittance from Malaysian workers in Singapore and the Klang Valley.
He also said Johor had an unemployment rate of 3.6% in 2016, worse than the national level of 3.4%.
“It was only 2% in 2007. Youth unemployment rate in Malaysia was at 10.5% last year but Johor recorded 11.6%,” he added.
He also said oil and gas projects in Pengerang were supposed to help ease unemployment among Johoreans, but were mostly under construction with most of the workers being foreigners.
“Even when the projects are completed, the oil and gas sector will not be the booming sector as was expected because it has been struggling since the plunge of oil prices in 2014,” he said.