SIBU: The government places high hopes in cooperatives to drive the country’s economic growth as it is recognised as its key contributor.
Rajang Port Authority (RPA) Cooperative Society Ltd chairman Christopher Yet Chuong Hin said the cooperatives movement in the country is set to be developed into the nation’s fourth key generator of economic growth after services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
“Strategies under the National Cooperative Policy from 2011-2020 seek to improve the socio-economic standing of the members, create greater awareness of the development around them and have a more responsive corporate culture,” he said in his opening address at the 17th annual general meeting (AGM) of the RPA Cooperative Society Ltd in RPA premises here on Friday evening.
“The policy underlines five core strategies to help cooperatives in the country contribute 10 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), or to boost the cooperatives sector’s revenue to RM35.5 billion by 2020,” he added.
According to Yet, a cooperative is an organisation that has autonomous power and it promotes spirit of volunteerism; as such, it is in practice a democracy in operation.
“I hope our cooperative could be more competitive and able to change its daily operations to face more challenging and complex economic situations for the benefit of our members.
“Our cooperative should be seen as a separate sector and be given a bigger role in line with our objective to pool our resources. We can start small until such time that when we have more capital, we could operate large-scale businesses and thus, making bigger profits.
“Hopefully in the future, we could venture into more challenging businesses like property, real estate, catering, transport and supply, which offer more lucrative returns,” he added.
RPA Cooperative Society was set up in June 2002 – its main objective is to provide loans and other financial facilities to members to help them with their financial problems and improve their socio-economic situation.
Yet said at present, it has 142 members and provides personal loans of up to RM30,000 with eight per cent interest.
“It is paramount to achieve the ultimate goal of helping members increase their incomes and involving them in business, besides improving their standard of living, helping to lessen their financial burden and preparing them for unavoidable challenges and difficult times during economic recession.
“All this while, we have maintained very good liquidity and are able to provide a monthly loan of RM63,000 as the net current assets of our cooperative stands at RM779,104.16.
“Total savings of our members is RM718,430, while total loans given out to members is RM780,821.72.
“Last year, we gave 159 financial aid comprising 31 loans totalling RM577,000, and provided 128 advances amounting to RM179,000 to members,” he said.
Yet also disclosed that the cooperative recorded RM74,273.02 in profit, versus RM49,594.77 recorded in the previous year.
Profits are distributed to members through bonuses and annual dividends.
RPA general manager Datin Helen Lim officiated at the ceremony and presented her keynote address during the AGM.