27 October 2017, Johor Bahru – The 2018 Budget proposals will ensure continuity in Iskandar Malaysia’s development as it is consistent with its Comprehensive Development Plan, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said.
He said the budget aspired to ensure the well-being of the people and spur various sectors of business such as public transport, small and medium enterprises, tourism, health, and education nationwide, including Iskandar Malaysia.
“We appreciate the RM1 billion allocation for five economic corridors as it will further boost investment, trade and industries.
“In addition, the allocation provision of public transport infrastructure such as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Rapid Transit System (RTS) in Iskandar Malaysia, which is set for completion in the next few years in line with the government\’s aspiration to provide faster and safer connectivity systems such as High-Speed Rail (HSR), MRT and LRT.
“These facilities will certainly increase the value of investments in Iskandar Malaysia and benefit the people,” he said in a statement here today.
Ismail said BRT is critical for Iskandar Malaysia as it would not only ease road congestion, but would also ease travel within and outside Iskandar Malaysia.
He said IRDA welcomed the proposed RM10 billion funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in keeping with the target of raising SME contribution to 41 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020.
With the allocation provided, he said IRDA could upgrade the skills of SMEs in Iskandar Malaysia through programmes such as the Iskandar Malaysia Employment Grant and Iskandar Malaysia Professional Fund.
Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia would continue to support the government\’s target of creating 3.3 million jobs by 2020 by generating 817,500 jobs in the economic corridor by 2025 in accordance with the state government’s policy in ensuring a more inclusive people’s participation and sustainable development to enable more jobs to be generated for the people.
“This is also in line with the target of achieving 45 per cent skilled and knowledgeable workers in Iskandar Malaysia by 2025 and the federal governments aim to achieve the 35 per cent skilled and knowledgeable workers at the national level as outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he said.
Hence, Ismail said he was confident that the target could be achieved through the Malaysian Technical and Vocational Training rebranding and being placed under the coordination of the Ministry of Human Resources.
IRDA also welcomes the introduction of various grants and funding to cater to the fourth industrial revolution and digital economy as they go hand in hand with Iskandar Malaysia’s emphasis on digital economy, he said.
He said the funding would directly and indirectly impact all economic sectors such as the manufacturing sector via Digital 4.0; tourism sector through online promotion and marketing; creative sector through digital applications and platforms, financial and business services through digital-based outsourcing services.
“One of the pillars of the 2018 Budget is to spur investment, trade and industrial development where total domestic investment is expected to increase to 6.7 per cent in 2018.
“In the case of Iskandar Malaysia, it has succeeded in attracting committed investments worth RM242 billion (2006-August 2017) with strong supports from the federal and state governments.
“All these sustainable agenda will make Iskandar Malaysia a smart metropolis in terms of economic, environmental and social aspects.
“This is our goal is to ensure the inclusiveness of Iskandar Malaysia in providing benefits to the people not only in the economic corridor but also throughout the country,” he said.