KUCHING: The Ministry of Industrial Development has set aside RM2.1 million as loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the state this year.
Assistant Minister (Investment and Promotion) Julaihi Narawi urged SMEs to grab the opportunity to apply for loans that would be disbursed through Sarawak SEDC.
The loan amount could range from RM10,000 to RM250,000, he told reporters before a mock cheque presentation to Sulaiman Luhi, the 160th successful applicant since the scheme was introduced in 1999.
“The fund is the continual effort of the state government to help SMEs, as we know that they play a vital role in the economy.
“With the implementation of many mega projects, especially in SCORE (Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy), we feel that there is a need to speed up the growth of SMEs in the state so that they could play a more important role”.
Julaihi, who is also Assistant Minister of Rural Development, revealed that the scheme, had disbursed a total of RM9.3 million worth of loans to SMEs in the state thus far.
Although only less than half of the applicants had settled their loans, Julaihi felt that this was not a big issue.
“To date, 52 of them had paid back their loans. Actually, late repayment is quite a common issue … not a problem, only about 30 per cent,” he said, stressing that action would be taken against those who failed to meet the loan repayments.
He was quick to add that the government would try not to take any action as the objective of the scheme was to help SMEs to achieve greater success in businesses.
“We hope the federal government could distribute at least 10 per cent of the total loan to SMEs for Sarawak”.
Meanwhile, Sulaiman, a furniture manufacturer from Kampung Tembirat, Asajaya, later told reporters that he would use the loan to further promote his products. He received a RM100,000 loan.
“My company, Sulaiman Trading, employs six persons. I do not plan to open a branch elsewhere, and my priority is to use the money on marketing.”
The 50-year-old man said he was in the timber industry before he got involved in furniture in 2004. He supplies mainly furniture to schools and the local market.