PENN programme proves govt's commitment to boost Indian women's economic empowerment

SHAH ALAM: The allocation of a special fund of RM50mil to Indian women entrepreneurs through the Prosperity Empowerment and A New Normal for Indian Women (PENN) programme demonstrates the Unity Government’s commitment to accelerating the group’s economic empowerment.

Restaurant owner N. Lalitta, 60, said the allocation would benefit women entrepreneurs like her in expanding their businesses to a higher level in the future.

She said such an initiative was not only awaited by Indian entrepreneurs but also by Indian women or single mothers looking to generate a more stable income by venturing into businesses with the allocated funds.

"It's a good initiative introduced by the government because in my opinion there are still many in our community who are economically disadvantaged who need attention, guidance and help to be more successful.

"This fund is like teaching us to fish, and not just giving us fish, which means we are given help to become independent to change the future...we certainly appreciate the government's initiative to help find ways so that the Indian community, especially women, are not perpetually trapped in poverty," she told Bernama.

Lalitta said the fund is also the government's recognition of the contribution of Indian women entrepreneurs in the country.

"We admit that many Indian women need support and funding to develop their businesses but at the same time we hope that the government will also focus on developing the younger generation in the field of education," she said.

Meanwhile, a private sector worker who only wants to be known as Mona, 48, hopes that the fund can be optimally utilised by the target group to advance their existing businesses or explore new business opportunities.

In this regard, she hopes that the government through relevant ministries or agencies could give an explanation on the fund as well as other programmes and initiatives provided by the Unity Government so that the Indian community, especially those in rural areas, is not marginalised or left out.

"For me, right now the Indian community is more focused on the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (Mitra) whereas there are many other aid programmes provided by the government through other agencies to help they need to be informed about this," she added.

On Saturday (April 13), Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Deputy Minister, Datuk R. Ramanan announced that Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) has allocated a special fund of RM50mil to empower Indian women entrepreneurs through the PENN programme.

He noted that the allocation utilises AIM's internal funds, and would benefit over 7,100 new Sahabat Usahawan India, increasing the total beneficiaries of the Skim Pinjaman Ikhtiar AIM to 10,200, including 3,100 existing entrepreneurs. - Bernama

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