Initiatives for sustainable economic recovery

Indigenous people like Orang Seletar in Iskandar Malaysia can apply for a start-up capital from IM Makmur for up to RM10,000 to start a small business. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

ISKANDAR Regional Development Authority (Irda) wants to reach out and engage with the community and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Johor to assist them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said it had put in place a collection of programmes that would sustain the socioeconomic recovery of the community and SMEs in the economic growth corridor.

The programmes are part of the Sustainable Economic Recovery Initiative in Iskandar Malaysia or SECURE@Iskandar Malaysia under the Federal Budget 2021.

“We are focusing on three areas namely Capacity Building, Reskilling and Upskilling, as well as Funds and Grants, ’’ Ismail told StarMetro in Johor Baru.

The Federal Government has allocated RM100mil under Budget 2021 to Irda and Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (Sedia) for job-related initiatives.

The objective is to reskill workers who lost their jobs following the closure of the Malaysia-Singapore border and to assist them in securing new jobs or a source of income.

Ismail said those interested in starting a small business would receive start-up capital up to RM10,000 from the IM Makmur programme under Community Social Enterprise – Small Business Capital.

He said assistance would be provided to targeted groups under Capacity Building to overcome challenges that can hinder their participation in economic activities and generate income.

To this end, IM Makmur will provide three-month courses and skills training for entrepreneurship and employment; and six months’ incentive to employers.

Ismail said all those in the B40 group in Iskandar Malaysia could apply for IM Makmur and Capacity Building programmes, though priority would be given to targeted groups such as single mothers, orphans, the disabled, senior citizens, community fishermen, indigenous people, ex-prisoners/juveniles and military/police retirees.

He said any entity, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in Iskandar Malaysia would be able to apply for funds up to RM20,000 from IM Makmur to lead, coordinate and conduct socioeconomic activities for a minimum of 20 people from targeted groups.

Other programmes include the Iskandar Malaysia ‘Youth To Biz’ or ‘Y2B’ programme, which offers a 50:50 matching grant for mobile vehicle businesses with a maximum grant of RM150,000.

“Open for new business only, the grant can be used to buy a truck to run the business, machinery and equipment, ’’ he said.

Ismail said another incentive was a matching grant of up to RM125,000 available under Shared Business Facilities with a minimum of five SMEs running businesses under one roof.

The Iskandar Malaysia Employ-ment Grant, on the other hand, will assist the targeted groups to find high-paying jobs in the economic corridor through a 50:50 salary matching grant, for up to RM2,000 per employee for six months.

He said those eligible were employers who retained workers during the pandemic starting from January 2020, and new recruitments starting from March 2020 onwards.

“Employees must be earning RM4,000 or less (executive level and above) and are available to local employees only, ’’ he added.

Those interested in agriculture can consider taking part in the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Farming (IMURFARM) 2.0 with a grant provided for low-income communities in urban areas.

Ismail said the objective of the project was to earn an income through high-yield crops or urban and modern agriculture practices.

Those from the B40 and M40 groups, aged between 18 and 40 years, as well as retrenched workers/unemployed graduates with agriculture background/experience/interest can apply.

“They must be willing to sign a two-year contract with us, provide full commitment and have plans to become an entrepreneur in food and agro, ” he stressed.

For details and to register interest, visit

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