Mr. Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim, President and CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) has this week encouraged Singapore companies to continue giving Iskandar a chance in spite of its manpower challenges. He assured that labor will be easily procured in the short term if the need is immediate.
Analysis by Singapore company registration specialist Rikvin shows that the announcement follows a report that the EduCity hub will only be able to supply about 5,000 personnel in about a decade. The hub, which consists of a cluster of international universities and education institutions, was slated to play an integral part in the success of Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program.
It was also designed to play a role as a hinterland for Singapore businesses by supplying a pool of workers for Singapore SMEs that were expanding or migrating there. However, the hub is revealed to be still in a gestation stage.
As Malaysia and Singapore have been long-standing economic partners and Singapore stakeholders are invested in the Iskandar project, we anticipate that the IIB will fulfil its promise.
In the meantime, Singapore SMEs that are keen to have access to Malaysian workers must bite the bullet and find ways to address their manpower issues.”
To that end, the Chief advised SMEs that are looking at the medium term to wait for up to 3 years for a pool of suitably-skilled labor to be created within Iskandar. He asserted that the Malaysian government has in place a structured training program, National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS), that will create a pool of skilled labor in the country. It also anticipates that some of the talent from this program will be channelled to the Iskandar region.
According to the country’s Department of Skills Development, the number of students in NOSS programmes across Malaysia over the last two years has been on the rise, from 89,252 in 2011 to 101,450 in 2012.
In the meantime, the Chief assured that Iskandar was working on collaborating with the Singapore Retail Academy (SRA) on developing talent for the retail sector. He also said that the IIB was considering approaching Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to provide vocational training.
Commenting on the news, Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin said, “As Malaysia and Singapore have been long-standing economic partners and Singapore stakeholders are invested in the Iskandar project, we anticipate that the IIB will fulfil its promise. In the meantime, Singapore SMEs that are keen to have access to Malaysian workers must bite the bullet and find ways to address their manpower issues.”