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Sabah, Sarawak companies to be given priority..
08 Feb 2005February 7th 2005: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that companies from Sabah and Sarawak would be given the priority in carrying out infrastructure projects in the two states. There are companies in the two states capable of carrying out such projects and they should be given the opportunity there, he said in his speech at the Bumiputera Minority Economic Congress 2005 held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here Monday. He said infrastructure facilities were still lacking in Sabah and Sarawak and that both of them had the resources required to develop their states. "We should know what we need to do. We need to start it and it has start from the point of capability," he said. Meanwhile, the congress today, jointly organised by the Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sabah and the Dayak Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sarawak, among others discussed the problems faced by the minority Bumiputera community there which has been left quite behind in terms of economic development. The Prime Minister said that companies from the private sector of Sabah and Sarawak should also play their role in the development of the states with their capacity to create job opportunities and sources of income. He said companies that have become successful should also give rise to opportunities for the smaller companies by giving them sub-contracts. Achieving success through the programmes set out by the government meanwhile should be something that must be enjoyed by all parties so that no one community is marginalised, left behind or left to take care of its fate, he said, People should not just see all the opportunities available and not have the capacity to grab them in the belief that they are lacking in something, he said. "If the capabilities are limited, we would have to make the efforts to increase them through quality learning and education," he said. Abdullah said there was also the immediate need to upgrade schools and facilities in Sabah and Sarawak. Besides this, there is also the need to set up training and skills centres for the people, he said. He said Sabah and Sarawak stood to gain tremendous economic gains but this would have to be undertaken in a big way and would require the involvement of the people. Among the sectors that would be able to help towards this direction are the agriculture and agro-based industries, Abdullah pointed out. Source: BERNAMA
Steps being taken to improve well-being of Bumi minorities
08 Feb 2005February 8 2005 VARIOUS measures are being taken to improve the economic well-being of Bumiputera minorities, a top government official said. Economic Planning Unit deputy director-general Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah said a Bumiputera Participation Unit is looking into the welfare of non-Malay Bumiputeras, primarily from Sabah and Sarawak. Bumiputera minorities are also included in the overall effort to restructuring their employment patterns and to create more middle-class Bumiputera entrepreneurs."We will enhance the role of trust agencies like Permodalan Nasional Bhd and others," he said. Wan Abdul Aziz was speaking on "National Policies, Current Status and Future Challenges in Promoting Bumiputera Minorities Participation in Commerce and Industry" at the Bumiputera Minority Economic Congress in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. He said that under the Seventh Malaysia Plan (1996-2000), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) extended RM49.4 million worth of loans to 1,706 people in Sabah, and RM22.6 million to 840 people in Sarawak. Between 2001 and end-2004, Mara disbursed RM60.2 million loans to 1,787 people in Sabah and RM25.4 million loans to 832 people in Sarawak. During the period, most Mara loans in Sabah and Sarawak went to the trade and contract sectors. The rest went to services, manufacturing and transport. Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia associate professor of economy and business Dr Madeline Berma said Bumiputera minorities in Sabah and Sarawak are in the same situation as Malays in Peninsular Malaysia back in the 1970s. Their corporate equity stake is almost negligible, compared with about 19 per cent in the hands of generally Malay Bumiputeras. Given better access to government development programmes, these Bumiputera minorities can achieve the same success the Malays have enjoyed for the past 30 years, she said. "The Government's existing policies are relevant to Bumiputera minorities, but the implementation needs to be improved to ensure that it reaches everybody," she told reporters on the sidelines of the the congress. "The inaugural congress, held for two days, is jointly organised by the Kadazandusun Chamber and Commerce and Industry of Sabah and the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak. Source: NST Busines Times