Johor seeks RM1b from Putrajaya to aid state SMEs hit by Covid-19

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state government will request a RM1 billion allocation from Putrajaya to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the state. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the state government will request a RM1 billion allocation from Putrajaya to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the state. — Picture by Ben Tan

ISKANDAR PUTERI, July 6 — The Johor government will be asking the federal government for RM1 billion to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the state that have been battered by the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing movement control order (MCO).

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the allocation was a realistic figure as SMEs are a major contributor to the country’s economy.

“The allocation is specific to SMEs under the manufacturing sector in the state after I received many requests from industry players here.

“With that, I will meet with the Finance Ministry to discuss the RM1 billion allocation,” Hasni told a press conference after the Ibrahim Johor Economic Council (IJEC) at the Jen Hotel by Shangri-La in Puteri Harbour here today.

Also present at the press conference was senior state government committee chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali, Mohd Solihan Badri and other senior state administration officers.

Hasni had earlier chaired the inaugural IJEC session to address the post Covid-19 economic situation.

He said the meeting also touched on stimulus packages, as well as figuring out the best methods to ensure the state’s economy was resilient.

“The IJEC acts as an implementation machinery for the Johor government that acts like the federal government’s programme to revitalise the economy at state level.

“The council works in a similar method to ensure the success of the planned programmes,” said Hasni.

The 61-year-old Benut assemblyman pointed out that the IJEC’s role was different from the previously announced Iskandar Malaysia Advisory Council (IMAC) that is under the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

“IJEC will be involved with the entire Johor and is different from the more regional IMAC that is only tasked with taking care of the districts under the Iskandar Malaysia zones in the state,” said Hasni, adding that IRDA is also a member in the IJEC.

Hasni said that the next IJEC meeting will be in two months.

The IJEC consists of several influential individuals and capable industry leaders in the economic sector and aims to address short, medium and long-term issues related to Johor’s economy, especially in light of the post-Covid-19 recovery.

Among IJEC’s notable members are Johor Corporation (JCorp) president and chief executive officer Datuk Syed Mohammad Syed Ibrahim; Petronas executive vice-president and chief executive officer Datuk Md Ariff Mahmood and Khazanah Nasional Berhad managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

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