JOHOR Baru (or better known as JB to locals) has been wronged. It is wrong that no matter how much of work that has gone into the city, there are those who still insist that the JB of today is not that different to the JB of yesteryears.
How can you not notice the six- lane Jalan Skudai that has replaced the two lane one? This is a road that is comparable to Federal Highway in Kuala Lumpur, which is known as the backbone of Kuala Lumpur's road system.
Let's not get into its three new expressways -- Iskandar Coastal Highway, Senai-Desaru Expressway and the latest addition the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL).
The Iskandar Coastal Highway connects the city to Nusajaya, the Senai-Desaru Expressway makes driving to Desaru a breeze while the EDL promises a direct link to the North-South Highway from Singapore bypassing the city.
Coming back after more than seven years of living and working in Kuala Lumpur, it was one of the first things I noticed.
The second was that I didn't need my Touch 'n Go card. There were no tolls to pay! How about that?
Then there was the traffic.
It is nothing compared to the problems in Kuala Lumpur, but be warned this is no backwater with only a handful of cars on the road.
Johor Baru is a thriving city and the traffic here is reflective of that. The crowd is different too.
Looking at the traffic before, you would see countless of A and K plate motorcyclists, and a whole lot of J plate cars. A and K registered plates hail from Perak and Kedah while J is from Johor.
Many from the north live in JB and work in Singapore.
Now you also see W plate cars here and there. W of course, is for Federal Territory (Wilayah Persekutuan). That is, thanks to the many projects going on in Iskandar.
If they don't live here, I'm sure they at least have work here.
That is a start.
Of course, there is more to be done.
While we may have made great strides, there are some parts of Johor Baru that could do with a facelift.
It would be great to have more shopping malls, more places to hang out.
Then there's the crime-related problems. No amount of gloss can hide that.
The point is it can be done, and efforts have been made to make Johor Baru a city many would want to work and live in.
I, for one, am appreciative of the changes and look forward to JB 2.0.
Presenna Nambiar, a journalist with Business Times, is happy to work in her home town. She believes one day everyone else, will be too.