IRDA New Chief Executive To Focus On Strengthening Stakeholders' Involvement And Collaboration In Iskandar Malaysia
Johor Bahru, 26 January
Growing requirements in the development of Iskandar Malaysia, from the economic, social and environmental perspective plus the damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic requires solutions that must have strong involvement and collaboration of all the stakeholders within and relevant to the region.
Yang Berhormat Dato’ Dr Badrul Hisham bin Kassim, Chief Executive, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said, “Seeing that Iskandar Malaysia is within the state of Johor and IRDA is co-chaired by both the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Menteri Besar of Johor, it is only natural that I will gravitate towards ensuring that both the federal and state government agendas are attended to and be fulfilled. However, matching and balancing the needs of the stakeholders does not end with these 2 parties. I would also take the same collaborative approach with the private sector and the community that is within or relevant to the development of Iskandar Malaysia.’
“One of IRDA key roles is to facilitate and I believe that we can do more in terms of facilitating and coordinating between the government and private stakeholders, plus the community, to ensure that we deliver the agenda and goals of the region.”
Iskandar Malaysia’s focus this year is for economic and social recovery that is supported by a resilient ecosystem and driven by transformative actions. Diving into economic and social recovery, 2 things are on its plate, which is to intensify foreign and domestic investments into Iskandar Malaysia and boost job, entrepreneurship, and business opportunities for locals.
As the key driver of Iskandar Malaysia development, foreign and domestic investments need to continue to flow into the region. For this purpose, IRDA will intensify its engagement with current and potential investors and work together with other relevant agencies such as Invest Johor, MIDA and MITI, and our private partners, to promote Iskandar Malaysia as an investment destination. The investments that come in will have the necessary impact to help local businesses and Rakyat to recover whether through job opportunities or products and services that can be offered.
As for boosting job, entrepreneurship, and business opportunities for locals, one thing that IRDA is able to deliver immediately is to extend our socio-economic initiatives that will support businesses to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be achieved especially through the SECURE@IskandarMalaysia initiative where we are already seeing thousands of Rakyat in the region receiving assistance ranging from grants and funds, reskilling and upskilling, and capacity building in the past year.
While the grants and funds can jumpstart the economy and businesses, the reskilling, upskilling and capacity building programmes are equally important to build more resilient workers and entrepreneurs.
“This ties into Iskandar Malaysia’s effort to build and reinforce a resilient ecosystem that can support the recovery initiatives we have planned for. For this, we are currently reviewing our Comprehensive Development Plan or CDP, which has always been our guiding light in developing the region holistically. The enhanced version, CDPiii, will evolve to meet the changing trend and needs of the region, businesses, and Rakyat, and will be the foundation to brace the region in the future,” explained Badrul.
The recovery that is being planned and the resilient ecosystem that has been created and will be strengthened will be driven by several transformative actions. Apart from the immediate action mentioned earlier regarding the SECURE@IskandarMalaysia socio-economic initiative, this year IRDA will also kick start the modern farming agenda that was announced last year. Looking at the huge demand for food supply, modern farming can be the platform to boost social and economic recovery in the region. It provides the opportunity to invest, create jobs and also entrepreneurs.
The recently announced new Flagship F area in Sedenak is another opportunity that IRDA sees that can help the region’s economic and social recovery and become a resilient platform for businesses and the Rakyat to rely upon. The development of Sedenak would speed up growth in the area and nearby districts for the benefit of the local community, as well as to strengthen the network of access between Johor and other states.
Badrul elaborated, “Whatever we want to do requires various types of involvement and collaboration from our stakeholders, and we are not only talking about bringing in big investments into the region. This involvement and collaboration can also come in the form of support for our social and environmental initiatives and programmes as these two are also key agendas in the development of the region. Being a part of Iskandar Malaysia’s development does not only put our partner on the national and global map, as Iskandar Malaysia initiatives and programmes are internationally recognised but also be seen as playing a crucial and impactful role to Johor state and the country by developing the local businesses and Rakyat.”