Blooming into a beautiful city
The country’s first economic corridor is divided into five flagship zones; the other four zones are Iskandar Puteri ( formerly known as Nusajaya), Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development Zone and KulaiSenai.
“We must ensure that Johor Baru remains attractive and able to attract crowd although the state administrative seat had moved to Kota Iskandar in Iskandar Puteri in 2009,” adds Mohamed Khaled.
IRDA chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim says it will take about two years to rehabilitate and revitalise Sungai Segget into a new landmark in Johor Baru.
He says phase one of the work involves the construction of centralised sewerage treatment plant to enhance water quality through reducing pollutant loads to the Straits of Tebrau.
Ismail says this will be followed with the opening up of the river, which flows along Jalan Wong Ah Fook in down town Johor Baru.
Sungai Segget was covered in 2005, a short- term measure to ensure odour and pollution of the river was contained above the ground. It is a river that cuts through the heart of the city that some say do not have a comprehensive sewerage system.
In late 2013, the rehabilitation works on the river started on a grand scale with the mandate being given to IRDA and the Johor Baru City Council to monitor the project. It was a project slated under the JB Transformation blue print mapped out by IRDA and is to be completed this year.
“The success of the river rehabilitation project will be the focal point of the entire redevelopment project of the city centre,” he says.
Ismail explains there is a need to transform Johor Baru city centre as most major cities all over the world have undergone transformation projects to offer better living area for locals as well as attracting tourists.
He says Singapore is a city state that has successfully preserved and conserved the old parts of the republic and turned them into viable places to live and do businesses.
Ismail says the conservation works by the private sector involving historical and heritage buildings under the watchful eyes of the Urban Renewal Authority has rejuvenated the old parts of Singapore.
“Look at Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, where the pre- war shop houses fronting the Singapore River have been turned into specialty retail stores, food and beverages outlets and modern offices blending well with skyscrapers behind them,” he says.
Ismail says the same can be done to bring back people to Johor Baru city centre not only during the day but also at night and these can be achieved by combining the old and new elements in the transformation project.
Another major development that is set to transform the city is the development the Ibrahim International Business District ( IIBD). It is designed to enhance the image and position of Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia as the most successful metropolis and development regions in the world.
The IIBD that carries an estimated gross development value of between RM20bil and RM25bil is set to help the state capital achieve a world city and metropolis status by 2020. Spanning over 101.17ha, the main component of the project is the 2.56ha Coronation Square, which will include a medical suite, three blocks of serviced apartments, an office tower and a hotel building.
The IIBD is the brainchild of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and the multi- billion- ringgit project will turn Johor Baru into a “second Kuala Lumpur”.
It is a new brand for Johor, similar to other well- known business districts such as Australia’s Sydney CBD, Canada’s Downtown Toronto, China’s Beijing Business Central District as well as Seoul Special City. Customs Complex and sites within the Johor Zoo, the Ayer Molek prison and Hospital Sultanah Aminah.
In the old days, Sungai Segget was the artery through which many activities took place. It ranged from trading to fishing.
Now the authorities are hoping that the rehabilitated river becomes a tourist attraction where flat bottom boats could ply the river like gondolas in European cities.
The current state of the sungai segget at the Johor Baru City Centre.
The sungai segget rejuvenation Project is on track for completion under the Johor Baru Transformation plan.
sungai segget overflowing following a downpour along Jalan Wong Ah Fook in Johor Baru on nov 24, 2015.