KEPALA BATAS: Petty traders and individuals should join co-operatives if they want low-interest loans instead of resorting to loan sharks, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said many co-operatives offered loans, which members could use to either start or expand their businesses.
“It is better to become co-operative members and subsequently apply for loans instead of going to illegal money lenders. Many government agencies have also set up their own co-operatives, allowing members to apply for loans or purchase goods with easy payment facility.
“Many people face unnecessary problems when they could not pay up the money taken from illegal money lenders or Ah Longs,” he said after launching the National Co-operative Day at Dewan Millenium here yesterday.
Also present was Land and Co-operative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.
There are now 4,372 registered co-operatives with a total of 5 million members investing RM4.4bil, said Abdullah, adding that co-operatives were becoming an important part of the country’s economy.
Earlier in his speech, Abdullah said the co-operative movement should come out from the “cycle of low participation, low professionalism and low productivity” and become more professional in their approach.
“The co-operatives should have honest, dynamic and progressive management teams. It is also important for members to scrutinise their co-operatives to check any discrepancies,” he said.
Kasitah, in his speech, said a co-operative hub would be established to encourage members to participate in business.
The RM156mil hub would be built near the Subang Airport and it would act like a hypermart selling various products including fresh goods like vegetables and meat produced by co-operative members.
It would be operational the latest in the year 2005 and would use the “Pekan Rabu” concept.
Pekan Rabu is a popular shopping complex in Alor Star where petty traders sell various goods at low prices.