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Bertha HarianBertha Harian


A Singaporean in Johor

When I grow old(er), I will move to…Johor! I mean, have you seen the stuff that’s coming up in Iskandar region? More importantly, did you read about what those homes could be priced at?
Go buy BT.

There is this place called the Oasis, a 147-unit development of premium strata residences consisting of studie, 1, 2 and 2+1 bedroom units. Priced at RM700 – 800 psf, a 500 -1,000 sqf studio could cost RM350,000 – 800,000. (Hmm…what’s the price of a COE?)

Oh! Oh! And then there is this other place called Avira, with bungalow, terrace houses, semi-ds, condo units and service apartments. A double-story terrace house of 2,200 sqf will cost RM924,000. RM is Malaysian ringgit for those who are really, really blur. Go get your own calculator and work out the exchange rate.

Okay, I know there are plenty of Singaporeans with homes next door but these places come with a Singapore stamp. Temasek Holdings has sunk a foot in these developments. Other Singapore developers are also in the fray. Plus these places seem designed for people like me – I almost make the grade as a post-war baby boomer. Living there means being surrounded by what is known as “wellness’’ amenities plus plenty of hospitals with familiar Singapore names.(I THINK can use Medisave there.)

The announcements by the two Prime Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia look like the best news in recent time. For both leaders, it’s probably great timing. Malaysia has a general election due by middle of the year. Singapore is screaming about lack of space. So Johor is …our hinterland? I will do my patriotic duty and move over so as not to be a burden on the state, dependent on the ever small-group of younger Singaporeans and a strain on our infrastructure.

Go further up by fast-speed rail and KL is… our playground? I think plenty of people are excited by this prospect. I know the costs haven’t been worked out, but I sure hope the ticket is less than the price of admission into Gardens by the Bay.

But wait a minute. What if the Malaysians decide to treat foreigners differently? You know, levy higher charges on non-Malaysians in healthcare? Or impose a national service tax of sorts because we are leeching on their resources? Or complain that we are raising property prices and the price of everything else? Cannot be right? What if Malaysians say they should have first dibs who gets to stay there? I suppose I’ll have to pay some additional stamp duty to own a property. You think I can get part-time employment there? Or is there a levy/quota?

Oh wait. What if the rules change?

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I also read in BT that there will be an “airport city’’ around Senai. Hmm…so if I live around there, I go Senai for my travels? Wouldn’t this be competition to our own Changi airport? I am real proud of Changi, so I guess I’ll travel back into Singapore so that Changi can keep boasting about its arrival/departure figures.

But why I am pouring cold water over such news? I shouldn’t. At the very least, it shows that bilateral relations are blossoming. I don’t have to read about the haggling over water prices or railway land or a crooked bridge to replace the Causeway although I’m quite intrigued about the “third link’’ that’s proposed.

I also hope Mr Najib stays in power because I don’t know how a new leadership would act. New broom, you know, sweeps clean and we might just be some dust in the corner.

And as non-citizens, we wouldn’t have any speaking rights no matter if Temasek or Capitaland has a say in Iskandar. Hmm… I sound like a foreigner.

Maybe I should stay at home. At least I have voting rights, even if whatever I say isn’t loud enough to be heard.

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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