He shares with iProperty.com his thoughts on i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd’s role in creating high value jobs in Iskandar Puteri.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why did you decide to return from working in the UK to join a Khazanah Nasional Berhad company based in Iskandar Malaysia (IM)?
I am a simple and approachable person. I have gained experience from various industries, in different senior roles as well as in several countries. I believe this experience will allow me to push the agenda of personal development for individuals to help contribute to the success of IM.
One of the reasons that I came back to Malaysia is because I felt that the opportunity for growth in IM is immense. Not only did this opportunity to work in IM give me a platform for personal growth, but also the access to play my role in the growth of other individuals and of IM. I witnessed how the youth were so confident and passionate. It made me see the similarities of how businesses were run in the UK and I liked it. The role I was offered was to develop something unique that not many people can have the chance to do – to create high value jobs in IM particularly in Iskandar Puteri.
What does i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd (i2M) do and why do you believe that what it does is important for Iskandar Malaysia?
i2M was set up to create high value jobs in IM particularly in the area of Iskandar Puteri. What we do is to facilitate companies to set up or expand their operations here in IM in the area of business services. Once these companies have decided to start their businesses here, they create 50 jobs to 1000 jobs over a 5 year period, paying average salaries of above RM5,000 per month. What is interesting is that these companies may bring jobs that may never have existed here before such as “Social Media Expert” which we are happy to say, pays well.
The main reason why this is essential to the success of Iskandar Puteri and IM is that with the number of high value jobs coming in, there is a domino effect that directly churns the economic benefit to the society. For example, with these jobs being created and realized, companies will require office spaces, more restaurants, local and international schools to establish their presence and a need for properties to be rented or purchased, amongst others.
So while i2M’s role is seen as bringing in high value jobs, it is a lot more than that. We play a role in creating the right eco-system to allow for this economic stimulation to manifest, blossom and transform IM to realize its vision.
What is the talent landscape in Iskandar Malaysia?
There is a perception that there is a lack of talent in IM. This is not true as there is actually a lack of opportunities. Hence, the available talent will gravitate to places that will offer them the opportunity to be employed. Johor has an abundance of talent. Local universities are churning out talents and with the establishment of EduCity in Iskandar Puteri, we are beginning to see foreign universities gain a foothold in Asia by setting up their campuses here. It is about disseminating information to these talents of the availability of suitable roles in IM. In many cases, people just don’t know these roles and opportunities exist or that these good companies are located in IM. Not many know that Marlborough College Malaysia is deploying a total of 7 busses every day to Singapore bringing with them a total of 100 students.
On the national front, Khazanah through Yayasan Amir and LeapEd, have been entrusted with an initiative to build on the concept of trust schools to raise the bar in not only educating students but also raising the standards of the educators. Khazanah is serious. They have set up a fund for a Sustainable & Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk Program where in June 2015, Khazanah issued Malaysia’s first SRI Sukuk of RM100 million. The 2nd tranche is coming up soon. This too will feed into the talent pipeline for IM and we will certainly reap the benefit of this foresight in the coming years.
What does it take to attract talents into Iskandar Malaysia?
In any case, while all of us here in IM have a role to play in connecting the dots between the talents and companies, the companies must also play a bigger role in not only trying to attract but retain these talents as well. These talents can come from all over Malaysia, Singapore and even returning Malaysians from overseas (we are already witnessing a lot of cases). Companies must ensure that the expectation gap is not too huge on what is perceived as talent and what is actually out there and available. They must also make sure that these companies provide roles that are interesting especially to the millennials and Gen-Xs. Offering a high salary alone will not do it for them. Job satisfaction and personal values need to be met too.
How does i2M work with government agencies and what role does i2M play in the development of Iskandar Malaysia?
i2M works hand in hand with the government when it relates to the development of IM. For example, when it comes to talent development and building a greater pool of talent availability in IM, we collaborate with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), TalentCorp, the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the universities, Khazanah and some of its related companies like UEM Sunrise, Iskandar Investment and Medini Iskandar Malaysia.
All these parties play their part in trying to make IM the choice location for Global Business Services (GBS). I2M initiated the GBS Iskandar which was launched by the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed in April this year. GBS Iskandar is a specialised programme to facilitate businesses to locate GBS Operations in Iskandar Puteri, Iskandar Malaysia. We have aspirations of creating over 14,000 jobs and to bring in a total investment value of about RM6.5 billion by 2020.
What do you do to unwind?
I eat a lot! IM has a lot to offer in terms of the variety of food. I am quite adventurous over the weekends, finding new places to eat with my family and friends.
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia June 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!