Just yesterday (1 December), the tabling of the 2023 Johor state budget was held.
And during the session, it was mentioned that Johor will be introducing initiatives at the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) to increase the efficiency of travel between Johor and Singapore.
In particular, Johor’s chief minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi pointed out that around 211,000 people have been through the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI), the building where the CIQ is located, every day since the land borders between Malaysia and Singapore were reopened on 1 April this year.
For Malaysians, Mr Onn Hafiz mentioned that they will add more electronic gates (e-gates) for travellers crossing the causeway via foot or bus to get through immigration faster.
The number of e-gates will be increased from 14 to 32 at the entry points, while the number of e-gates at the exit points will be increased from 14 to 26 gates.
As for foreigners, he said, “The immigration department will expand the use of e-gates for foreigners. This will reduce congestion at BSI.”
Apart from that, the Johor government is also looking into the possibility of offering lorry lanes “as an alternative route” for light vehicles passing through the customs during peak hours.
“This will involve upgrading of counters for the convenience of car drivers,” he explained.
Other measures were also mentioned, such as lane restructuring for motorcycles and cars that enter and exit Johor.
Apart from the measures themselves, Mr Onn Hafiz also acknowledged how reopening the land borders between Malaysia and Singapore after the COVID-19 pandemic has positively impacted Johor tremendously.
According to him, Johor was able to garner RM60.9 billion (approximately S$18.85 billion) in investments, allowing it to rank first amongst all the states in Malaysia.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Johor also decreased from 4% in the third quarter of 2021 to 2.5% in 2022, making it the Malaysian state with the lowest unemployment rate.
Johor Looking at Budget Surplus
Mr Onn Hafiz also revealed that the state is looking at a budget surplus based on the state budget for 2023.
The budget, themed “Onward Johor: Prosperity With the People”, places Johor’s expected revenue for 2023 at RM1.73418 billion. On the other hand, the predicted expenditure is RM1.73174 billion, which means that Johor will obtain a net surplus of around RM2.44 million based on these predictions.
This also marks the first time Johor might see a surplus in recent years, as it has been experiencing a budget deficit for the past two years.
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