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Extra RM600m for Bumi entrepreneurs [05-03-2013]  
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Funds are for various programmes and financing needs to boost participation at global stage

THE government yesterday announced an additional fund of RM600 million for various programmes and financing needs to further empower Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said RM400 million will be managed by the Economic Planning Unit to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, such as for infrastructural development and support programmes, to turn them into global players.

The remaining RM200 million will be disbursed equally through Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB).

Mara will further develop its programmes to elevate Bumiputera corporates in their equity development agenda, while PUNB will use the RM100 million to help place businesses at strategic locations.

Najib made these announcements in his speech when officiating at the inaugural 2013 Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Assembly, organised by 12 government agencies responsible in helping out Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

He also said that the ceiling for loans under Mara and Tekun Nasional has been increased to RM100,000 from RM50,000. The financing limit under Mara has been increased to RM1 million from RM500,000.

The prime minister yesterday also announced the implementation of a Teraju Exchange Portal, which will gather details of successful Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Najib said using the RM400 million extra fund, the government, among others, will upgrade the existing incubators and small and medium enterprises' parks, and place entrepreneurs in strategic locations nationwide.

Meanwhile, the premier said the government's aim has always been to retain the fundamentals of the New Economic Policy (NEP), while adopting adjustments in order to meet its objectives.

He said a review of the policy has been done in accordance with the changes in the 21st century, and such adjustments are needed to ensure it is properly implemented.

"These changes do not mean we have reduced our commitment to achieve the initial objectives of the NEP. These are adjustments in terms of implementation.

"If there are weaknesses that could be questioned, then we try to correct them to ensure the objectives could be reached."

Meanwhile, at a press conference here later, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the additional funds will be utilised and can be obtained immediately.

Yesterday's assembly was attended by over 3,000 entpreneurs and will be held once every two years.

The agencies involved were PUNB, Teraju, Ekuiti Nasional Bhd, Mara, Tekun Nasional, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, SME Corporation, SME Bank, Perbadanan Nasional Bhd, Malaysia Technology Development Corporation, Multimedia Development Corporation and Agro Bank.

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