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Malaysia's predominant political party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), has held power in coalition with other parties since its independence in 1957. Johor in fact, is the birth place of UMNO.

In 1973, an alliance of communally based parties was replaced with a broader coalition of the Barisan Nasional (National Front) - composed of 14 parties. Today the Barisan Nasional alliance has three prominent members - UMNO, MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) and MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress).

Johor, under the competent leadership of the Barisan Nasional Government, has experienced both political stability, and rapid development and industrialization.

This has benefited the people from all walks of life with unprecedented progress and development for the last 50 years.

This is clearly manifested in the massive infrastructure projects, housing schemes, rural roads and a host of other public utility programmes that had been implemented, especially over the last decade.

The affluence and higher quality of life enjoyed by the people of Johor today is a testimony of the commitment and dedication of the Barisan Nasional to deliver its election pledges.

Likewise, the people are genuinely happy with the status quo they have enjoyed over the years. This, perhaps, explains why there has been no strong opposition to the Barisan Nasional in Johor, despite attempts by some opposition parties to break the ruling coalition's stronghold in the State.

Today, all 40 Members of Parliament in Johor are from the Barisan Nasional. In the 56-seat State Legislative Assembly, the Barisan Nasional also enjoys virtual monopoly of the House, except for one seat which is held by the opposition, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

Spearheading the State Government of Johor is the Menteri Besar or Chief Minister. Since April 1995, this coveted position has been held by former academic and Cabinet Minister, The Right Honorable Dato' Haji Abdul Ghani Othman. He is aided by a 10-member Johor State Executive Council (Exco), each member being entrusted with specific portfolios to administer the State and meet the needs and aspirations of the people.

Dato' Abdul Ghani, an economist by training before plunging into politics, has been instrumental in putting in place a concerted plan of action to spur Johor to greater heights of progress and prosperity.

During the last two five-year terms as Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), Dato' Haji Abdul Ghani has transformed Johor with exciting new economic programmes and policies based on the underlying theme of "Holistic Development". This has produced a balanced all-round growth benefiting all sectors of the economy.

But the best is yet to come. Over the next five years, with unprecedented public expenditure on infrastructure, Johor will be transformed into a developed State and Johor Bahru will emerge to be a world-class international city.