Sabah chamber to unveil masterplan on SMEs

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 11 Jun 2003

THE Sabah Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) will unveil a masterplan to encourage more non-Muslim bumiputras, especially among the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) community, to venture into small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs). 

Its president Datuk Ajit Galun said the proposed masterplan, which centred on the availability of the micro-credit scheme offering loans of up to RM20,000 from Bank Pertanian Malaysia (BPM) and Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), would be tabled at the chamber's next supreme council meeting this month. 

“We will discuss the masterplan in detail before implementing it. Our focus will certainly be on business opportunities in the agriculture and tourism sectors such as the typical KDM food and traditional dress (kain Marudu). 

“KCCI is serious in helping the KDM community to succeed in business ventures. That's why KCCI will come up with a masterplan,” he told Bernama in Kota Kinabalu yesterday. 

Ajit said the KDM should grab the opportunity offered through the micro-credit scheme as it would assist them financially to start their business, especially since applications for such loans could be processed within a week. 

“This is a good opportunity for the KDM community to start their own business, albeit on a small scale initially,” he said. 

On May 21, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced an economic package which included streamlining and strengthening the micro-credit programme. 

It also restructures BPM into a micro-credit bank to manage loans for small businesses and enterprises in the agriculture sector with RM500mil provided under the micro-credit scheme. 

It provided an additional fund of RM200mil to Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) and placed AIM under the credit scheme of BPM in addition to a new fund of RM300mil under the scheme for BSN to finance non-agriculture projects. 

On the future of the agriculture sector in Sabah, Ajit said: “There is a huge potential provided they (KDM community) are ready to develop it on a commercial basis. 

“As far as I can see, there is a huge potential in farming, especially pineapples, tapioca and durians, but the problem is marketing. The government could help out here.” 

He said there should be more promotion for “Tenom coffee” as greater awareness would then enhance its marketability and provide business opportunities to the KDM community. – Bernama  

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