By Shikin Louis
KUCHING, Feb 10: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak will no longer be left behind in getting financial assistance from the bank once the State government secures a sizeable number of shares in Affin Bank Sdn Bhd.
In stating this, Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division (SFCA) president Dato Richard Wee said having a bank of our own would allow the State to focus on the needs of local SMEs.
“Usually, by the time we (Sarawak SMEs) apply for financial assistance, they have already been given out to other applicants.
“Therefore, with Sarawak having a bank of its own, it would enable some attention to be given to Sarawak SMEs – our voices will be stronger,” he told reporters after a Chinese New Year (CNY) open house at his residence today.
Wee further said that Sarawak used to have several local banks, such as Bank Utama, Hock Hua Bank, Kwong Lee Bank, and Bian Chiang Bank.
“During those days, when you are a Sarawak bank, you tend to take care of your Sarawak customers.
“However, after the consolidation of banks in the late 1990s, the West Malaysian banks took over all these local banks, and we do not have one focusing on Sarawak.
“Therefore, when the Premier of Sarawak (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg) said that the State government will take over a sizeable number of shares in a bank to take care of our Sarawakian companies, I think that is a welcomed move,” he added.
On Feb 5, Abang Johari announced that the Sarawak government will become a blockholder in Affin Bank, and the negotiations on the stakes in the commercial bank will be finalised within a month or two. — DayakDaily