AIM fund won’t help Indians, says PKR

B Nantha Kumar | January 27, 2012

Najib is urged to remodel the micro credit scheme.

KUALA LUMPUR: A PKR leader today called for a remodelling of Budget 2012’s micro credit scheme for poor Indians, saying the fund, as currently managed by Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM), had no way of meeting its objective.

“What can one do with RM3,000?” said PKR Malacca vice-chairman G Rajendran in reference to the maximum amount a participant in the scheme can borrow.

He suggested that the amount be increased to RM30,000 and the credit, instead of being restricted to women, be offered to youths as well.

The budget allocates RM100 million for the scheme.

Rajendran said his call was a challenge to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to lend some credibility to his claim that he cared about the plight of poor Indians.

It would be a chance for him to prove that the scheme was more than just an election gimmick, he added.

He said RM3,000 was not even enough to set up a business premises. “At the most, one could probably set up a stall selling garlands, or vending nuts and other titbits or taking orders to tailor clothes.

“I can imagine that if 3,000 women in Malacca get the maximum credit, then we will have 1,000 flower stalls, 1,000 nut vendors and 1,000 seamstresses. The competition will be so stiff that no one will make any profit.”

He accused Najib of trying to buy votes through the scheme and said he was insulting the Indians by assuming that their support was cheap.

“If they give RM3,000 per person, then more than 33,000 people will get the loan. That means 33,000 families will be forced to vote for BN.”

He said many young Indians were interested in starting businesses of their own but could not get loans from banks and government-linked bodies because these institutions would entertain only those applicants with at least two years of business experience.

The scheme should not exclude them, whatever their gender, he added.

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