MIRI: The Indians in Sarawak are keen to tap into the RM20mil federal funding in the Indian Entrepreneur Development Scheme proposed in Budget 2020.
The 10,000-plus population of Indians here are keen to sharpen their skills in the world of trading, business and industry, said Sarawak Indian Society deputy president Karambir Singh.
“The Indians in Sarawak are already very established in professional fields such as education, health and medical care, engineering, oil and gas, and the like – and they want to enter the commercial business sector in a big way, ” he said.
However, Karambir said Putrajaya must set up a specific fund specially for Indians living in Sarawak as it was difficult for Sarawakians to apply for and secure funding from Putrajaya-based schemes.
“It is good to see more serious attention being given towards increasing the involvement of Indians in the economic and business sectors in Malaysia.
“The newly-announced scheme under Budget 2020 will be useful for those Indians who need funds to venture into these sectors.
“However, as far as Sarawak is concerned, past experience shows that it is difficult for us here to access and apply for federal schemes that are based in Putrajaya.
“Due to logistics challenges, the distance and the often tedious application and interview processes, it has been challenging for us to secure funds from the federal side.
“Furthermore, we will have to compete with the large population of Indians in the peninsula, so the RM20mil may not be enough to go around.
“Putrajaya should set up a specific entrepreneur development scheme with a separate sum of funds just for Sarawak Indians.
“That specific scheme should be Sarawak-based, ” he said on Tuesday (Oct 15).
Karambir is a senior councillor in the Miri City Council and is a college lecturer and administrator.
He is also Miri Indian Society branch chairman.