Joint committee on Iskandar Malaysia working on easy modes of transport

Implementing easy transport links between Singapore and the mega Iskandar Malaysia project is one of the aims of the Joint Ministerial Committee.

Iskandar Malaysia’s CEO, Harun Johari, said this when asked about the progress of the rail link between Singapore and Iskandar Malaysia.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is in Singapore for an introductory visit, toured the project at Nusajaya before making his way to the Republic.

Mr Najib arrived via the Tuas Checkpoint and was met at his hotel by National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan, who is the Minister-in-attendance.

The joint ministerial committee on Iskandar Malaysia has so far met four times and among the areas it is looking at is transportation to the mega project. Improvements have been made to the bus system, and taxis are next.

Mr Harun said: “Taxis, as you know, are for the business people moving across (to Malaysia) and that’s one target we want to go along. And with time, (when) we have confidence working together, we will then move to other modes of transportation.

“On trial now is an automated system of immigration clearance involving some 60,000 people. By doing this system, we will facilitate movements, and without using the (immigration) white card.”

Mr Harun added that 90 percent of the US$13 billion investment target has been realised.

While Singapore is the third largest investor in the Iskandar Malaysia project, there has been some anti-Singaporean sentiments across the Causeway, once in a while.

But the CEO of Iskandar Malaysia said the key is to continuously educate the public, especially the Johoreans, of the benefits of foreign investments in this mega project.

He said: “People worry about whether they have been sidelined. But this whole thing about the project in Iskandar Malaysia is about the nation-building of Johor and that would create employment, some 800,000 (jobs), and business opportunities – so it is a good thing.

“When we have big changes (like the Iskandar Malaysia project)… people ask questions. So if we are not able to answer those questions, there would be suspicion… So we need to explain.”

There will be an open house in Johor Bahru over the weekend for Malaysians to better understand Iskandar Malaysia and put Malaysia on the global radar screen.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 21 May 2009

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