SME Bank has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Johor Petroleum Development Corporation Berhad (JPDC) to foster economic growth in Johor.

SME Bank group president/CEO, Datuk Wira (Dr.) Aria Putera Ismail said, “SME Bank remains committed in its dedication to delivering SMEs with financial assistance and advisory support.

“Since its inception, SME Bank has successfully approved over RM47 billion in financing for a total of 23,820 MSMEs, with RM560.74 million allocated specifically to entrepreneurs in Johor.

“We are prepared to leverage our expertise in collaboration with JPDC, the lead Federal Government agency overseeing the planning and coordination of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC).

“Together, we aim to facilitate investments and enhance local participation in workforce and business resource readiness for the downstream oil and gas, petrochemical, and chemical industries within PIPC.

“Our goal is to foster the expansion of local businesses and entrepreneurship, benefiting not only Pengerang but also the broader region of Johor and beyond.”

“Under the MoU, both parties will collaborate on identifying and nurturing prospective vendors from Pengerang, Johor, and Malaysia, offering them guidance in business and financial management, access to funding, and other essential support services.

“This endeavour aims to equip local contractors with the skills and capabilities needed to thrive in the downstream oil and gas, petrochemical, and chemical industries. SME Bank anticipates providing more than RM35 million in financing to support 30 customers,” added Aria.

Izhar Hifnei Ismail, acting chief executive of JPDC said, “The Contractor Development Program (CDP) is a progression from the Skills in Oil and Gas (SOGA) Program that JPDC have been implementing in PIPC since 2013.

“We have provided skills and job competency training, including re-skilling and upskilling training, for almost 7,000 Malaysian manpower, with 95 percent of them successfully finding gainful employment in the downstream oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical and energy-related sectors in PIPC and other places in Malaysia.

“Under the CDP, JPDC aims to provide small and medium-sized Malaysian contractor companies and enterprises with business management skills and competencies, to enable them to continually upgrade their capabilities and capacities, and qualify them to provide services to the downstream oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical industries not only in PIPC and Malaysia, but also at the international level.

“The thirty participants who meet the CDP criteria will be undergoing training in two batches, with the first batch of fifteen to be trained in 2024, and the second batch of fifteen to be trained in 2025.”

JPDC will nominate prospective candidates to SME Bank for evaluation and inclusion in training and coaching programs, facilitated in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneur Development Research Sdn Bhd (CEDAR), a subsidiary of SME Bank. These programs will focus on enhancing the entrepreneurial and managerial competencies of local businesses, entrepreneurs, and contractors.

The MoU was signed by Aria and Izhar Hifnei, in the presence of SME Bank group chief corporate strategy officer, Datuk Dr. Mohammad Hardee Ibrahim. Izhar Hifnei later presented a letter to CEDAR’s CEO, Amirul Imran Ahmat, appointing CEDAR to provide customised training in business capacity building under the CDP.


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