Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the allocation was approved at the board meeting of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as IRDA joint-Chairman, on Monday, Nov 29.
"A sum of RM339 had been allocated for the next two years under the 2011 Budget, and yesterday, the Prime Minister had agreed to increase the allocation by another RM700 to Iskandar Malaysia," he said.
Speaking at the launch of the Kota Iskandar and "Galeri Siar Jauhar" tourism programme at the Bangunan Sultan Ismail, here today, Abdul Ghani, who is also the IRDA joint-Chairman, expressed confidence that the allocation would enable all development that had been planned to be carried out according to schedule.
"The allocation enables all projects to be completed up to 2012, which is the year that brings significant changes where the 'Legoland' theme park will begin operations which is projected to attract one million visitors, while the University of Newcastle will begin operations at the end of next year," he said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Ghani said about 10,400 people, including local and foreign visitors, were estimated to have visited Kota Iskandar since the area, which is the new administrative centre for Johor, was opened two years ago.
Kota Iskandar, he said, had also won the FIABCI Malaysia Real Estate Award 2010 for the public sector, which was held at the federal capital on Nov 11.
As such, he said efforts to turn Kota Iskandar into one of the 10 tourist destinations in Johor could diversify tourist attractions in the state besides educating foreign tourists on the Johor heritage and history.
Under the Kota Iskandar and Galeri Sinar Jauhar tourism programme, Abdul Ghani said 20 tourist guides were provided to give information on the town including taking tourists around the area and observing the State Legislative Assembly sitting.
"At the Bangunan Sultan Ismail, there are two parks, namely the "Laman Bunga Rampai" and "Laman Bunga Kasturi" which were designed according to the Alhambra concept. Tourists would be taken around the parks to enjoy their natural beauty," he added. — Bernama
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