Posted: 26 Oct 2012 07:34 AM PDT
BETTER DAYS: Relentless efforts at development are paying off. From a mining area, the town has flourished into a business centre, and is expected to be accorded city status by the end of next year.
The RM1.2 billion education hub in Bandar Enstek, Nilai, will include a teacher training institute.
Once, only a few would choose to reside in Negri Sembilan, which was mostly occupied by generations who cultivated rubber trees and oil palm for a living.
That has changed.
It has taken me a while to learn the ropes since I was relocated to Seremban early this year.
Apart from the lemak cili api dishes and sumptuous sambal ayam, what piqued my interest most was Seremban's ongoing development.
Often tagged as a quaint town, the implementation of multiple projects has been breathing much-needed life into Seremban.
Only a 40-minute drive from bustling Kuala Lumpur, Seremban is now a city escapade to many who choose to settle down in the town and travel to Kuala Lumpur daily to earn an income.
A few people I came in contact with in the area where I stay also find the town a good place to raise children, and to keep the stork flying, too.
It is slow-paced, yet you can find almost everything here, according to them.
There's always one humdinger who makes things possible.
The commitment of Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who has worked relentlessly to develop the town deserves his fair share of praise.
Through smart and comprehensive planning under his administration, the town has been making tremendous progress over the years.
Focusing on two keys to creating a good city, he has turned all his attention and energy to providing access while encouraging relocations to the state, which explains the growing population in Negri Sembilan.
While concern over escalating house prices has been creating headlines of late, more houses are being built to cater to the growing demand.
Among them are projects in Sendayan, Seremban 2 and Senawang.
There has been an avalanche of reactions over the rising prices of houses in the state. But, despite such a perception, where else can we get a double-storey terrace house for less than RM300,000 in the country?
The convenient access to Kuala Lumpur has also resulted in more people from bigger cities scouting for houses in Seremban.
Two highways, (the North-South Expressway and Kajang-Seremban Highway) connecting the state have never crushed expectations, although inevitable traffic build-ups during peak hours have always been a thorny issue.
Yet on the list of ongoing projects is the construction of another RM160 million interchange at Km267.8 between Seremban and Nilai.
With a 12-lane toll plaza, the interchange stands to benefit more than 40,000 road users plying the route every day.
The state is also shining on the economic front.
As houses in Seremban gain appeal, investors are arriving in droves.
The new township of Bandar Enstek in Nilai has drawn an influx of investors. Among them is Britain's prestigious Epsom College, which has acquired land there to set up its first institute outside the UK.
The construction of the RM1.2 billion education hub would also see the set up of other institutions in years to come, such as Aminuddin Baki Institute, a teacher training institute, an English language institute, Tunku Kurshiah College and Nilai Polytechnic as well as the International Islamic University Malaysia's medical faculty and the International University College of Nursing.
It is indeed a smart move, as having more educational institutions would not only stir the interest of the young but also create more jobs.
The exodus of youngsters from the state is an issue the state government is always determined to address. These young graduates always end up moving to other cities, citing career progression or a more exciting life as reason.
Realising this, the state government has resorted to such projects that offer long-term benefits, making youngsters a happier lot.
Seremban folk will also be able to enjoy a new shopping mall and boutique hotel, slated for completion some time next year and touted to be the largest and most happening lifestyle mall.
For some, the development of Negri Sembilan is ultimately aimed at gaining the people's trust and steadfast support, while ensuring the state government's future.
But there is always more to it than meets the eye.
As much as the state boasts of historic sites and cultural amenities, development is what the people would like to witness. After all, what is better than a satisfied society?
It takes more than armchair economists to see that every sen invested in the development of the state is worthy of praise.
What is important is that the ongoing development will be able to answer the question constantly in the people's mind:
"What is in store for us?"
Just look around, and count your blessings.
With Maizatul Ranai NST Journalist in Negri Sembilan
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