Japan revives grant programme for locals

Farizan appointed CEO of Penang Infrastructure Corporation.

FOLLOWING a move that began in 1989, the Japanese government is inviting applications nationwide for its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) after a 15-year hiatus.

The grant, which can go up to RM330,000 per project, is open to non-governmental organisations, local authorities, educational institutions, hospitals and medical institutions.

Consul-General of Japan in Penang Kanoya Shinichiro said the grant is in support of organisations that help needy and less fortunate people, especially during difficult times brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The grant was highly commended by many for providing support to various projects, so the government of Japan will continue the contribution of GGP to more projects in Malaysia.

“There was a hiatus at some point earlier as there was no need for the grant. But now, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to offer it, ” he said at a press conference called by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow in Komtar recently.

Kanoya said the Japanese government is not limiting the number of applicants for the grant and that its approval would be at the government’s prerogative.

On the history of the grant, Chow said it had been offered to Malaysians since 1989 and to date, a total of RM17.7mil had been disbursed to 149 projects in contribution towards enhancing the welfare of Malaysians.

“Six projects in Penang benefitted from the GGP, the last of which was a fisheries rehabilitation project by the Fisheries Department in 2005.

“The grant, also known as Kusa-no-ne in Japan, is aimed at supporting projects that promote socio-economic development such as primary health care, public welfare, primary education and environment care.

“While I strongly encourage eligible parties to apply for the GGP programme, please take note that all applications will be screened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

“The evaluation process will take about six months and disbursement of the grant will be in March 2021.

“In these unprecedented times of rising health and economic challenges brought on by Covid-19, I am confident this generous

gesture by the Japanese government will ensure the most vulnerable in our local communities will not be left behind, ” Chow said.

The application deadline for the grant is Aug 31. Application forms along with the criteria for application are available at the Japanese Embassy website at https://www.my.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_ja/ggp2020.html

Meanwhile, at the same press conference, Chow announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Farizan Darus as chief executive officer of Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd — the new state company in charge of Penang’s RM46bil transport master plan.

Chow said the former State Secretary is more than competent and experienced to lead the ‘special purpose vehicle’ organisation to award projects related to the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“We are confident that Farizan’s appointment will spur the PTMP into fruition and to greater heights, ” Chow said.

Farizan said, “It is a heavy responsibility. Part of my work is to ensure that all PTMP projects under SRS Consortium and Ewein Zenith go on well.”

Farizan served in various offices in Penang with his last being the role of State Secretary.

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