AS a leader elected by the people, I would not be where I am if I lacked the courage to lead my people towards positive change, no matter what obstacles stand in the way.
Johor’s New Decade, beginning this year, will be an era where our development and growth no longer proceed at the usual pace.
We will see a drastic change to our economic structure, development patterns and quality of life, an era where Johor will be at the forefront of an advanced Malaysia.
FIRSTLY, Johor is set on a path that enables us to raise our game in every dimension.
Over the past five years, our growth and economic position have exceeded others, and it would be a great loss if we do not further boost our development.
SECONDLY, Johor is a state with great potential. Her location is strategic. There are various economic activities; people have a wide array of skills; its political climate is stable, and royal patronage is very much in the spirit of the people.
THIRDLY, Johor is in need of new big ideas. It is clear that we can no longer continue in our step-by-step pace.
Johor needs a newer, more radical and strategic stimulant to interpret its development philosophy, “A Progressive Johor”, that will give us a different narrative from the current development models.
Development that is not only focussed on socio-economic improvement or infrastructure, but a more organised shift towards sustainable development based on livability and focusing on the security and prosperity of the people, beyond gross domestic product (GDP) aggregates and indications.
FOURTHLY, we are living in an ever-changing world due to a worldwide boom in science and technology.
We have to factor in all the new megatrends that are transforming humanity — nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology, as well as cognitive sciences, among others.
Therefore, this new decade is when we make full use of advancements in science and technology without sidelining the essence of humanity.
The fifth reason is the fact that with every decade, there is a new chapter to be written about our continued success and how we adapt with the times.
Johor’s New Decade will be the beginning of an epic journey, in keeping with the times where the focus is on ideas, creativity, communication and digital technologies, as well as artificial intelligence; no longer on raw materials and natural resources.
Progression is dynamic, with no shelf life, and our philosophy of progress must lead us not only to the birth of a progressive state, but also a progressive people.
The reason I chose a period of 10 years is because it is a realistic time frame to be able to see our plans and policies come to fruition.
We want to ensure that we are able to show the people tangible achievements, and be evaluated on our accomplishments.
Without a time frame, we will not be under pressure to deliver and I readily admit that threats will be in abundance despite our meticulous and pragmatic approach.
The first, a mission of this magnitude can only be carried out by a strong and well-supported state government. Otherwise, the next decade will be one of uncertainty due to political instability.
The second, we need tried and proven leadership that truly wants to bring change based on clear and organised plans and policies.
Not a leadership which proclaims itself to bring change but is merely a recycling plant, caught in the romance of nostalgic past and recycling everything from small ideas to the highest echelons of leadership.
A recycled government will not be able to bring change because it will only be concerned with returning to a past, which it has irresponsibly wrapped as an attractive candy to blur the judgment of our people and to its lack of courage to plan for the future.
The third, we need a system based on hard work and performance.
The fourth, Johor’s New Decade will demand collective collaboration of all Johor folk.
Do not be lulled into assuming that the path to do good is an easy one. In fact, the better and nobler our intentions, the stronger and more dangerous our challenges become.
That is why we can never achieve this huge ambition alone, but we can do so as TEAM Johor!
Those who are courageous enough to believe in and want to make Progressive Johor a success are a part of this team.
Those who take a stand to be with us are patriotic and truly care for this nation. Those who do not support this ambition are anti-progress and have no intention for Johor to move forward.
Therefore, TEAM Johor, whether you dwell in our cities or enjoy life by the countryside, let us all do our best in devoting ourselves to the growth of our state.
The writer is Johor menteri besar