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BERA, April 13 — The scope and objective of the assistance provided by the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) to Bumiputera entrepreneurs should be seen in the context of a broader economic chain, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said the issue of the ‘special assistance’ to the Malays, which was labelled as racist by certain quarters, was deliberately raised especially during the coming 14th general election (GE14) to give negative perception of the government.
“We have to remember that the aid given, especially in strengthening the economy, will eventually spill over to other races in the country.
“In fact, if one is selling nasi lemak, the basic ingredients such as rice are purchased from suppliers who are not usually the Bumiputeras,” he told a press conference after launching the Rural Economy Funding Scheme (SPED NANO) at Laman Kerayong here today.
Elaborating further, Ismail Sabri said Mara’s efforts to help the Bumiputera were not something new and since its establishment 52 years ago, the institution had produced 242,254 entrepreneurs with a RM7.9 billion fund.
On the SPED NANO, Ismail Sabri said it aimed at strengthening the small businesses by the Bumiputeras in 182 parliamentary constituencies nationwide.
He said a total of RM15 million was allocated through Mara to assist 1,500 entrepreneurs with maximum annual income of RM150,000.
The SPED NANO offered a financial assistance of RM10,000 per person in which the approval process would only take seven days with an interest rate of as low as four per cent, he added. — Bernama