BKSS: RM6.7 bln spent so far by Sarawak government

Awang Tengah (second right) cutting a ribbon with other guests to officially launch Aiman Mart.

By Yee Mei

KUCHING, Sept 13: The State government has spent more than RM6.7 billion on Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) packages to help the people.

This was revealed by Minister of International Trade and Investment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan during the opening and officiation ceremony of Aiman Mart today.

Advertisement

“Under my ministry, RM100 million has been allocated under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) for the Sarawak Micro Credit Scheme (SMCS). So far, we have channelled assistance worth RM54.7 million to 1,756 entrepreneurs.

“Under the Small and Medium Enterprise SME Loan Scheme (SPIKS), we have channelled RM33 million worth of assistance to 436 entrepreneurs. In the 12MP, RM22 million has been approved.

“Under Graduates Towards Entrepreneurship (Gerak), 431 graduates with an allocation of RM3.79 million have enjoyed this facility. In the 12MP, RM10 million was approved for the same purpose,” he said.

The Deputy Premier said that under the Vocational and Technical Entrepreneur (USTEV) programme, 655 entrepreneurs have benefited from RM5.66 million.

As forthe Go Digital programme, 600 entrepreneurs have benefited from this assistance with the approval of RM6 million. Under the 12MP, RM20 million has been approved for the implementation of this programme.

“Through BKSS 2.0, the Sarawak government has approved RM80.7 million for interest rate subsidies for three-and-a-half years to successful SMEs through the Special Relief Fund (SRF), Targeted Relief and Recovery Fund (TRRF) and PENJANA Tourism Facility (PTF) schemes.

“To date, 3,345 entrepreneurs have benefitted from interest rate subsidies worth RM77 million. The Sarawak government is the only government in Malaysia which offers this,” he said.

Awang Tengah elaborated that since the Covid-19 outbreak, more than 25,000 local entrepreneurs have been trained through capacity building, halal certification, and food operator programmes.

From 2020 until the second quarter of 2022, the ministry helped more than 33,000 entrepreneurs with financial assistance, capacity building, and product promotion programmes.

He added that more initiatives through BKSS have been provided by the Sarawak government and channelled through other agencies such as moratoriums, special assistances, discounts on electricity bills, water bills, and so on.

To empower SMEs, he said, the government, through his ministry, will implement programmes to increase the capacity of entrepreneurs through training and marketing local products to larger markets.

He explained that in Malaysia as well as Sarawak, SMEs, including micro-enterprises, hawkers, and small traders and the B40 group, represent 98.5 per cent of the business community.

“However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order (MCO) implemented across the country have significantly impacted them.

“Nevertheless, the Sarawak government has assisted all Sarawakians to help them get back on their feet,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the opening of Aiman Mart, Awang Tengah said it is part of the Aiman Group of Companies’ efforts to give back to the community.

“Other than making it more convenient for residents to obtain necessities, it will also create employment opportunities.

“As we know, the whole world is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the various movement restrictions. This has had an impact on the SME sector, including local entrepreneurs.

“However, today, we have witnessed the opening of Aiman Mart, which provides items such as groceries and daily necessities. This shows that local entrepreneurs can face challenges.

“I also understand that Aiman Group has established Aiman Cleaning & Maintenance Services Sdn Bhd. I believe that by establishing two companies under the Aiman Group, job opportunities for residents have also been created. I pray that Aiman Group of Companies will continue to be successful in the future,” he said. — DayakDaily

Advertisement