BUDGET 2021 – Focus on Individuals and Small Businesses Will Sustain Rakyat and Recharge Local Economy, Both Crucial in Prevailing Over COVID-19 Pandemic

Iskandar Malaysia, 6 November 2020 –  With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming with no end in sight, BUDGET 2021’s concentration on individuals and small businesses will help in sustaining Rakyat’s daily needs and recharge the local economy, both crucial for Malaysia in prevailing over the pandemic.

“As a holistic economic region, we truly understand and appreciate the importance of having both economy and society grow and progress simultaneously in ensuring the region remains resilient, competitive and relevant to the overall economic landscape as well as addressing the needs of the Rakyat.”

“Through the national BUDGET 2021, the government’s 3 pronged focus of the 5th ‘Revitalise’ stage (from the six-phase of the economic recovery plan), which includes ‘Rakyat’s Well-Being’, ‘Business Continuity’, and ‘Economic Resilience’ seems fitting in advocating the need of the economy and the people during this challenging pandemic spell,” said YBhg Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

Under “Strategy 3 – Creating and Maintaining Jobs”, for example, RM3.7 billion will be set aside for ‘Skim Jaminan Penjanaan Pekerjaan (JanaKerja)’ to create 500K job opportunities. Under the same strategy, ‘Majlis Pekerjaan Negara’ which will be chaired by the Prime Minister, will coordinate job creation, reskilling, upskilling and training activities across the various government agencies.

Datuk Ismail added, “Including the job-related initiatives above, IRDA appreciates and thanks the government for allocating RM100 million to the agency, and SEDIA, in reskilling workers who were gravely affected by the closure of the borders in assisting them in obtaining new jobs or a new source of income.”

Adding to the above strategy to create and maintain jobs, Iskandar Malaysia also welcomes another RM11.1 billion that has been set aside for Bumiputra access to quality education such as MARA and TVET and empowering Bumiputra entrepreneurs through financing and capacity building activities, aligned with the region’s social inclusiveness and entrepreneurship agenda.

Small businesses can further take advantage of the RM1.9 billion that has been budgeted to help them get access to funding, through PRIHATIN and PENJANA packages. To further propel Bumiputra small businesses, there is also the RM300 million ‘Skim Lestari Bumi’ dedicated to their needs.

Another opportunity for the semi-urban and rural communities the RM30 million set aside for the ‘Community Farming Programme’ which is expected to benefit 60 thousand participants. Iskandar Malaysia has witnessed the success of such programme through its own similar initiative called Iskandar Malaysia Urban Farming or ‘IMURFarm’.

With ‘Smart City’ being one of the key agendas in the region that can greatly advance Rakyat and expand small businesses, Iskandar Malaysia is also excited to see an allocation of RM800 for ‘Jalinan Digital Negara’ (JENDELA) and another RM7.8 billion to expand broadband service.

This is further reinforced through an RM1 billion budget being set aside for ‘Skim Transformasi Pendigitalan Industri’ and RM150 million for ‘Skim Geran Pendigitalan SME dan Geran Automasi’, both aimed at increasing productivity through the use of technology.

RM550 million has also been set aside for environmental conversation, the third agenda in the development of Iskandar Malaysia, apart from economic and social. This budget includes the expenses for the Integrated Island Waste Management project around the islands in Johor and Integrated Island Waste Management project around the islands in Johor. The region’s environmental programmes can further benefit from the Malaysia-SDG Trust Fund or MySDG Trust Fund with an initial allocation of 20 million ringgit, established by the Government through cooperation with the United Nations.

“To support the growth of the Rakyat and businesses, excellent infrastructure is vital and IRDA would like to once again mention our appreciation to the government for allocating RM780 million to the five (5)  economic regions, which includes the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in the Iskandar Malaysia area,” commented Datuk Ismail.

Infrastructure wise, in supporting the need of the Rakyat also is the Rent-To-Own scheme involving 5,000 PR1MA houses at a total value of RM1 billion. This helps the Rakyat to slowly build their resources and stabilize their lifestyle until they own the house.

With regards to the announcement on the extension of existing incentives in Iskandar Malaysia until 2022, IRDA is thrilled and is very appreciative of this as well as this will further drive investment into Iskandar Malaysia. This, coupled with other specialized incentives that encourage investors and businesses to come or move to Malaysia, will not only facilitate Iskandar Malaysia to meet its RM383 billion investment target by 2025 but will spur and strengthen the 9 promoted sectors in the region which include healthcare, education, logistics and tourism.

With RM1 billion dedicated to supporting the growth of the high-tech, which includes R&D in aerospace, this will be a boost to the region as IRDA has already identified the aerospace industry as the next growth sector in Iskandar Malaysia with opportunities arisen post COVID-19 which will respond positively to the government’s incentives and guarantee schemes.

Datuk Ismail concluded that BUDGET 2021’s focus on the need of the Rakyat and small businesses such as job creation and training, reskilling and upskilling; funding and strengthening of the entrepreneurship sector; digitalisation and automation and basic completion of public infrastructure, amongst others, will spur Malaysians and enable Malaysia to persevere against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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