ISKANDAR PUTERI, Sept 22 — A total of RM60.9 billion in investments for the first half of this year is expected to create 7,421 job opportunities for the people of Johor, Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said today.

He said that a total of 222 projects achieved through foreign and domestic investment will create job opportunities in the service and manufacturing sectors.

"The investment performance also saw a jump in the service sector to RM54.2 billion with 152 projects.

"The manufacturing sector also recorded an encouraging investment value of RM6.7 billion through 68 projects.

"In addition, the remaining investment was recorded through the main or primary sector," said Onn Hafiz.

He said this when replying questions from Anuar Abd Manap (BN-Pemanis), Azizul Bachok (BN-Tiram), Selamat Takim (BN-Sungai Balang) and Hasrunizah Hassan (BN-Pulai Sebatang) during the Johor state legislative assembly sitting at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar here today.

In a related development, Onn Hafiz said the state government has drawn up initiatives to strengthen its investment activities and attract investors to the state.

"First, empower Invest Johor's role as the main agency responsible for bringing in investors from within and outside the country.

"Secondly, strengthen the role of Johor Investment Committee (JIC) and Johor Economic Tourism and Cultural Office (JETCO) which are under the supervision of Invest Johor as secretariat.

"This is because JIC and JETCO function as facilitators between state and federal government agencies and investors, to discuss and resolve issues and related matters," he said.

Onn Hafiz said the next initiative is to plan a strategic trade and investment mission to expand the Kulai Fast Lane initiative in all local authorities.

He said the initiative will be branded as the Johor Fast Lane.

"The environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda is supported to provide confidence and ensure investors are comfortable and able to carry out sustainable operations.

"Furthermore, cooperation with various federal agencies such as Miti, Mida, Irda, East Coast Economic Regional Development Council (ECERDC), Johor Petroleum Development Corporation (JPDC) and other strategic investment partners will be enhanced," he said.