A bird’s-eye view of Johor Baru in 2015, just as the state began its wave of urban growth. A shift in the economic development of Johor is needed to realise the Progressive Johor vision.

In my message to Johor civil servants last year, I called for them to support the Progressive Johor (Johor Berkemajuan) vision.

Our aspirations, efforts and focus must lead to the formation of a community with noble character. It is not merely about a developed state. This year, we must redouble our efforts in making Progressive Johor a reality.

There is much uncertainty in the world right now. The world economy does not indicate encouraging growth. Even Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to face its own set of challenges. Unemployment is expected to rise; investors are taking a wait-and-see approach; and, the rise in the cost of living is worrying.

As Johor is part of the global economic system, it must position itself to be an economic district that is flexible, productive and competitive. Massive and radical development of Johor’s economy will allow it to remain relevant on domestic and global fronts. Hence, we must multiply efforts to make Progressive Johor a success. We all must ensure this. All of us have a responsibility, voice and role to turn that vision into reality.

To achieve Progressive Johor and to face the challenges in 2017, we will focus on:

FIRST, Progressive Johor must be made a success through TEAM Johor. If we look back at the past three years, every policy and economic growth strategy has seen a positive aggregate and numbers. Johor is the most dynamic economy in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. The deficit has been managed effectively. The government’s revenue and reserves have increased significantly — we can see this throughout Johor,

These achievements are not my own. They are the achievements of TEAM Johor. I am very much indebted to TEAM Johor, especially the civil servants and Johoreans who support my aspirations. The hard work, fortitude, resilience and sacrifice of Johoreans are the factors that will make Johor among the most progressive states in Malaysia.

This is what TEAM Johor is all about. We take responsibility for Johor as we have a sense of belonging to Johor. We want Johor to be the best community and a successful state. TEAM Johor does not recognise a person’s position, status or education level. Wherever we work and live, for as long as we contribute towards Johor and its community, we are TEAM Johor. TEAM Johor must be part of the solution to any problem.

For example, in crime prevention — while the state government has a role to provide security and enforcement personnel on the ground — parents, too, need to play a role in strengthening the family institution. Teachers play a role to ensure that schools can be effective institutions that produce a generation of exemplary characters. The business sector plays a role in creating more business opportunities and to reduce unemployment. All of them are TEAM Johor, who play their respective roles. It is a way of recognising the contributions of various quarters towards the state and community.

The 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, had said: “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

SECOND, innovation and technology must be the catalyst in Progressive Johor’s implementation. Solutions to problems can be found in science and technology. There is an abundance of science and technology, but we do not utilise it enough to develop our people. The most important transformation is a shift to a Digital Government. The Johor government system must be fully driven by the most advanced technology.

The four elements that will make up the core of the Johor government’s transformation in the next few years are:

RADICAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. In 2017 alone, it is estimated that half of all social media users in the world will be from the Asia-Pacific region. In Malaysia, social media users represent almost 80 per cent of the population. The Johor government and its systems must be driven by social media. There can be no excuse for information not reaching its target audience. Social media is a government instrument to interact with all Johoreans.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY. By 2020, growth in wireless traffic will increase 8,000 times as compared with 2010. By 2020, too, it is targeted that there will be no cash transactions in countries such as the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Commercial banks in Malaysia are drastically reducing counter services and encouraging consumers to use mobile applications. Look at how mobile technology has permanently changed the landscape of public transportation. Applications such as Uber, GrabCar and BlaBlaCar have become the norm. As a government, the services offered must be in line with this consumerisation of public services.

CLOUD COMPUTING. A professor of Malay Studies recently told me that much of the Malay manuscript treasures have been damaged. Among the causes are our hot and humid weather. He suggested authorities develop a digital heritage system. Government data will no longer be stored in storage rooms. They must be digitalised and kept in virtual files known as the cloud. This must become a widespread practice.

ANALYTICS AND BIG DATA. With so much data and information in the virtual world, it must be used to draft the best policies for the people. Problems of water supply, public transportation, influx of foreign workers and food supply can be analysed and solved using big data. A Digital Government Steering Committee will be formed to see to this shift.

THIRD, a shift in the economic development of Johor is needed to realise the Progressive Johor vision. Last year, the state government launched the Johor Strategic Growth Plan, a guide to democratise Johor’s economic growth and development. Through this plan, we will ensure every district and every corner of Johor will see its economic potential grow based on its respective niches.

FOURTH, performance. In the 21st century, the main feature of the government system is responsibility. We must become an accountable entity. The best way to ensure that responsibility becomes our culture is to measure our performance when enforcing policies. Progressive Johor must show results, and it should be based on performance. Johor will introduce, in stages, the concept of leadership performance. All senior state government officers and various agencies must follow in the footsteps of the state executive councillors who have their own specific performance index.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin is Johor menteri besar

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