Aud-Talks: Johor's Budget 2014

This post is about the recently announced Johor Budget 2014 by Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled. It is written base on Sin Chew Daily's article, link provided at the end of the post.
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4 guidelines to turn Johor to investors’ first choice

Guidelines 1: create sustainable economic development
Under this approach, Johor state government will focus on the following directions to enhance Johor economic development Johor and attract foreign companies to invest in Johor.

1. Coordination and investment promotion activities

To ensure Johor’s availability of business competitiveness, the state government has set up Johor Investment Committee (JIC), to coordinate foreign investment, and to attract potential foreign companies.

2. To provide broadband infrastructure

With the growing popularity of e-business management technology, business network and communication needs increase. In view of this, Telekom Malaysia (TM) will spend RM 32 million to enhance broadband network in Iskandar. In addition, Pengerang that develops towards petrochemical and natural gas industries will get have networking and communications facilities upgrade, the construction is expected to cost RM 10 million.

3. Exploring the highly influential new industrial areas
State Government will endeavor to explore the new industrial areas, including multimedia and animation, green energy and halal food industry.

4. Emphasis on oil and gas development
State government will develop three strongholds which are Tanjung Bin, Tanjung Langsat and Pengerang into international standards oil and gas hub. As for Pengerang, last year state government had spent RM 440 million on local housing construction and is expected to be obtained house and land tax in 2014.

Pengerang will usher in 11 construction projects, including the police station, one stop fishermen center, fire station and more which will cost RM 559 million.

5. Focuses on biotechnology
State Government is concerned about the "ecological Desaru" program, so far it has attracted 19 domestic and foreign investment projects with the total investment of RM 2 billion.

6. Enhance tourism
With Visit Malaysia Year 2014, state government will allocate RM 4.5 million to promote tourism. In addition, under the coordination of the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), infrastructure of Mersing’s four islands such as bridges, docks, waste disposal system will be enhanced with appropriation of 20 million ringgit.

Other focuses includes the promotion of agricultural activities, enhancement of local law enforcement agencies’ efficiency in industrial area, and encourage entrepreneurship.

Guidelines 2: To improve people's welfare

1. Providing quality housing for the people
In five years, the state government will build 28,000 affordable houses and low cost houses; and from 1 May next year, housing regulations for foreigners will be tightened. Minimum purchase price for foreigners will increase from RM 500,000 to RM 1 million.

In addition, in 2014 federal government will build 1550 houses under the "People's Housing Programme", at Skudai Sungai Melana for those who qualified.

Besides that, the People's outside Iskandar area will also be increased; beginning 1 Jan next year, government will launch "A type Johor community housing" which cost RM 42,000, and "B-type Johor Community Housing" which cost RM 80,000 and affordable houses at the price ranged from RM 140,000 to RM 150,000.

2. Improve public transport services
From 2012-2015, State government will spend RM1.5 million to increase 35 bus stops, as of now 16 bus stops are up; at the same time, enhance Iskandar local traffic system and launched Iskandar Malaysia Express Bus (BeXTRA) services.

In addition, launch wireless network on BeXTRA. Tentative tested on 16 buses.

3. Build and upgrade rural infrastructure
Along with suburban transformation program, government will increase rural road maintenance funding, expanding water rebate system, improve the quality of water supply, expand rural roads, strengthen power supply range.

4. Improve people's socio-economic status
State government next year will allocate one million ringgit, as food subsidy program; provide RM300 assistance for destitute persons and RM 150 for the poor.

Other strategies to improve people's welfare includes strengthen bumiputera’s economy, improve social status of women, promotion of youth and sports development, creation of a quality and efficiency of health care facilities, a sustainable environment, strengthen ethnic unity and consensus, maintenance, culture, art and architecture heritage and so on.

Guideline 3: To consolidate and strengthen the affinity of state government
Designed to make public services competitive and affinity, the state government will make improvements through the following strategies:

1. Strengthen the public service
State Government will focus on cultivation of potential rookie to join public service, giving them the opportunity to lead specific projects.

2. Reduce deficit in the consolidated income fund
State Government is concerned about the balance of revenue and expenditure, especially on the revenue, state government will re-examine all the charges for public services, while actively reclaim the 2012 and 2013 tax arrears.

As of October 2013, actual tax received in 2013 hits RM 917 million which is higher than the budgeted RM 908 million. Next year's revenue is expected to be exceeded RM 1.1 billion, which will help reduce state government deficit occurred since 2000.

3. Cautious consumption according ability
State Government would avoid administrative overhead over budget, and development funding will base on actual demand of relevant departments’ development projects.

4. Reduce government debt levels
Continue with water restructuring plan; adjust the level of the state government's debt. 2012 debt level decreased 49.7% compared to 2004.

5. Explore new revenue and modernization of land taxation services
State Government will re-examine the land, asset tax, and will implement electronic tax system in stages.

6. Johor Bahru urban transformation plan
Under the cooperations between Johor Bahru City Council and Iskandar development agencies, a series of Johor Bahru transformation plan has been carried out, including Segget River’s restoration project.

7. Re-examine the issue of family entertainment license
Licenses will be strictly enforced in 2014.

8. Establishment of local law enforcement agencies fund
In 2014, state government encourages local law enforcement unit to set up their own funds to improve the quality of life in the community, help the poor, provides education, and enhance technical and vocational training.

Guidelines 4: Talent cultivation

1. Emphasis on sustainable education and training
With the development requirements, Johor Investment Committee will strive to attract more higher education institutions, to Iskandar region and Pagoh. In addition, the state government will re-plan all colleges under Johor Education Foundation, focusing on cultivation energy, oil, natural gas, tourism and other areas of technical personnel.

2. Enhance Johor people's ability
Assists disadvantaged groups, including single mothers, destitute and households’ income less than RM 2300 to participate in training programs funded by central government with a total cost of RM4.2 million.

3. Increased tourism human resources
In 2014, state government will allocate RM 450 thousand to promote various tourism related courses, including language, driving service, introduction of eco-tourism, bird appreciation courses.
Other directions include increase the number of entrepreneurs, and enhance the level of knowledge Johor civil service.

What do you think about the said budget for Johor? Share me your views..

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