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M’sia Govt looking at easing S’pore-JB cross-border travel, tackling flood issues: PM Anwar

Singapore-Johor cross-border travel expected to ease

Travellers going between Singapore and Johor Bahru (JB) may soon enjoy a more fuss-free journey when crossing the border.

According to New Straits Times, Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told reporters during a Madani Aidilfitri 2024 celebration in JB that this is one area they are hoping to look at as JB anticipates higher economic growth in light of upcoming high-impact projects.

The projects are the Johor-Singapore Special Economic Zone (JS-SEZ) and the Special Financial Zone (SFZ) in Forest City.

Image courtesy of Anwar Ibrahim via Facebook

During a special development meeting chaired by Mr Anwar and attended by Johor’s chief minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi, several Cabinet ministers and  Johor MPs yesterday (18 April), the problems faced by Malaysians who travel to Singapore for work daily were raised.

“We are looking into new approaches to ease cross-border travel between Johor and Singapore,” he said in a The Star report.

They also discussed plans to make JS-SEZ a reality, including “improving cross-border movement, strengthening the business ecosystem and efforts to attract new investments”, Mr Anwar said.

Mr Anwar described this initiative as a “game changer” for Malaysia’s economic growth, adding that it would strengthen ties between both countries.

Focus on people’s welfare and flood-control

Mr Anwar also emphasised the need to ensure people’s welfare is taken care of as Johor pursues economic development.

Pointing out that there are fewer than 2,000 people in the hardcore poor category in Johor, he said: “I am sure we will be able to solve this in a short amount of time and put a full stop to the hardcore poor category.”

Image courtesy of AP via The Straits Times

Besides taking care of the lower income, the Government is also looking at tackling the flood problems in Johor, he said.


“The JS-SEZ and SFZ in Forest City are good indicators that the state is seeing major economic development,” the prime minister said in The Star. “However, we cannot see economic development while also having major floods.”

Johor to become Malaysia’s most economically advanced state

With JS-SEZ and SFZ, Johor is slated to exceed the economic growth of other Malaysian states in the next one to two years, according to Mr Anwar.

It is also set to be the most economically developed state in the country.

Singapore and Malaysia had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January on the Johor-Singapore SEZ, with the aim to boost cross-border economic connectivity.

This comes almost three months after Mr Anwar and outgoing Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong agreed to develop the economic zone at the 10th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in October.

Also read: Woman stands in Johor parking lot to ‘chope’ it for S’pore-registered car, waves other vehicles away

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Featured image adapted from AP via The Straits Times, Unsplash

Kim Shelly Tan

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