(SPEAK1M) Business GRANT RM50,000 to help cooperatives to be more competitive

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced the setting up of the 1Malaysia Cooperatives Economic Funding Scheme (SPEAK1M) to assist members of cooperatives to be involved in business.

Najib said the scheme is a form of micro funding which would be channelled to cooperatives to generate economic activities for members in line with their role as one of the pillars of national economic development.

He said to improve the efficiency and development of cooperatives, the maximum basic aid grant would be increased from RM30,000 to RM50,000 to help cooperatives to be more competitive.

Apart from that, Najib announced that the supervisory role of the Malaysian Cooperatives Commission (SKM) would be split so that a special body could be set up to develop cooperatives.”This is among three new measures to develop cooperatives I have announced tonight and we are considering other proposals and may announce them in future,” he when launching the National Cooperatives Day celebration at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here.

A total of 60,000 cooperative members throughout the country attended the celebration which also saw the participation of cooperative members from foreign countries.

On the higher maximum limit for basic development aid grant, Najib said this was provided considering most of the existing cooperatives were small in size, not so viable and comprised members from the low-income community.

He also said to assist coperatives more effectively, the government was proposing to break up the supervisory role of SKM to develop cooperatives in the country.

“It is not appropriate that one body plays the role as moderator and at the same time needs to develop the cooperative movement…it is better if the two roles are split so that we can determine their roles clearly,” he said.

The Prime Minister also urged small cooperatives to be consolidated to enjoy the benefits of economy of scale and ensure better income for the cooperatives and improve their competitiveness.

“Currently cooperatives can provide job opportunities to Malaysians, offer credit loans and also give business opportunities to those involved. I hope all these will be well-planned so that the number of cooperatives generating high revenue will continue to increase.

Najib said the benefits of the national transformation policy, government transformation plan and economic transformation plan would propel the national economy into a higher, healthier and stronger level.

“I believe the cooperative movement can contribute to the strength of the national economy in a thriving economic environment which will create a more positive surrounding for the cooperative movement and the country.

“It is not impossible that one day the cooperative movement in Malaysia will be a model to other countries,” he said.

– Bernama