MALACCA: The government has allocated RM20 million to implement the Urban Community Economic Empowerment Programme (PEKB) with a target of 2,000 participants this year.

Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Abd Muttalib said the allocation channelled under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) development budget targeted 14 training and skills courses for the B40 group, especially women and single mothers.

He said the initiative will help the group to become entrepreneurs through business that could provide higher incomes, improve the quality of life and eradicate poverty.

“So far, we have had 1,700 participants trained in various skills courses that have the potential to generate additional income, thus helping them with the rising cost of living.

“We have 14 courses in total and one of the new courses we are offering is childcare as well as other courses such as postpartum massage, creative sewing, frozen food and beauty,“ he told reporters after officiating the closing ceremony of PEKB Year 2022 Postpartum Massage Course and Creative Sewing Course in collaboration with the National Dual Training System (SLDN) and Dunia Melayu Dunia Islam.

State Women’s Affairs, Family Development and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Kalsom Nordin, Housing and Local Government Ministry Community Welfare Division secretary Datuk Muhamad Musa and SLDN chairman Datuk Joyah Abd Rashid were also present.

Ismail said PEKB participants would be monitored for six months to ensure that they could generate income according to the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set to ensure that the skills learned were not wasted and their income could be increased.

This is because the participants of the programme were selected not based on applications but through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) appointed by the ministry to carry out the search and census process according to the criteria that have been set.

“This measure is to ensure that the money channelled by the government for this programme is not wasted but instead can produce more entrepreneurs according to the fields in which they are really skilled,“ he said.

He added that PEKB participants who have been trained are also advised to strive to master service digitisation technology, especially through social media or online sales platforms to market their skills or products so as not to be left behind and to penetrate the wider business market.

Earlier, he presented participation certificates to 80 PEKB participants, including those from Malacca and Johor, who underwent postpartum massage and creative sewing training for seven days starting May 28. — Bernama