The chief minister for Johor has unveiled his manifesto for the Malaysian state, promising to turn it into an economic powerhouse with the development of three major theme parks to rival nearby Singapore’s tourist offering.
Mohamed Khaled Nordin, chair of the ruling Barisan Nasional Johor (Johor BN) coalition, unveiled the party’s promises for the state, which was drafted under the main targets of improving the prosperity of Johor; positioning the state as a new southern economic power; and catapulting Johor to become a viable competitor to anywhere else, with a particular focus on Singapore.
Announcing the three major theme parks, Khaled revealed three distinct projects around the state, valued at RM7.5bn (US$1.9bn, €1.6bn, £1.35bn).
The first will be a science fiction theme park, which will open nearby the existing Legoland Malaysia. Called Sci-Fi Universe, the development at Iskandar Puteri will be built at a cost of RM400m (US$102m, €83.3m, £72.2m).
The second project, worth RM4.5bn (US$1.1bn, €937m, £812m), will be a major tourism development close to Desaru Beach. To include an entertainment park, the resort will also feature other amenities such as hotels.
A RM2.7bn (US$695m, €562m, £487m) eco park will be the last of the three developments, with the attraction opening near the Yayasan Pelajaran Johor campus in Kota Tinggi.
“If Singapore has Gardens by the Bay, we will build a new tourism centre in Desaru. If Singapore has Universal Studios Singapore (USS), we in Johor will build the world’s first science fiction theme park,” said Khaled, speaking during the launch of his manifesto.
"We must work hard to make Johor as the best state in Malaysia, so that within five to 10 years, the story of our success will be echoed, not only throughout the nation, but also across the Tebrau Strait. Let everyone knows that this Southern Tiger can roar as loud as the Red Lion.”