Mayor Zamri Man has declared Ipoh as a Social Business City, which is the first in Asean and second in Asia.

The declaration was made on the first day of the Pangkor International Development Dialogue (PIDD) in Ipoh on Monday.

Also present were Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus and Perak Mentri Besar Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

Now that Ipoh has formally adopted the title of “social business city”, Zamri said the state planned to promote zero dividend businesses to solve social problems in Ipoh.

Coined by Muhammad, founder of Grameen Bank, a social business only repays investors their original investment, and reinvests 100% of its profits back into the business to solve social problems.

At a separate press conference, Dr Zambry said the social business model would tackle issues pertaining to urban poverty, drugs and security issues, although the latter is not so serious here.

“The mayor will be its main coordinator,” he said.

Muhammad said ideally, a social business city should be one where its people solve their own problems and officials act as a support system.