KUALA LUMPUR, 17 NOVEMBER 2014: The Government through East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has partnered up with the largest banking group in the country, Maybank / Maybank Islamic Berhad, to provide financial assistance to local entrepreneurs in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) under the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme.

For a start, ECERDC is allocating RM10 million to top up the interest or profit rate charges while Maybank/Maybank Islamic will allocate RM100 million for business financing, in a move which is expected to benefit 2,000 micro and small-and-medium sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Mersing by end-2015. This collaboration will be continued under the 11th Malaysia Plan which commences next year, where it is expected to benefit some 6,000 entrepreneurs in ECER by 2020.

The exchange of collaboration document was the highlight of ECER’s 4th Quarter 2014 Announcement which was held at the Parliament building here today, following ECERDC’s Second Council Meeting for 2014.  The event was witnessed by the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is also ECERDC Chairman. Representing ECERDC in the document exchange was its Chief Executive Officer YBhg. Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John, while Maybank was represented by its Group President and Chief Executive Officer, YBhg. Datuk Abdul Farid Alias.

ECERDC’s human capital development programmes such as entrepreneur ECER, empower ECER, Agropolitan, ECER Talent Enhancement Programme (ETEP) and Suri@Home have benefitted nearly 37,000 rakyat and created more than 8,000 entrepreneurs in ECER to date, of which 62% are women.

The introduction of ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Schemeis expected to boost the number of new entrepreneurs in ECER, increase the monthly income of micro-entrepreneurs and SMEs, as well as enhance their ability to grow their business. This is in line with the Government’s Transformation Programme which aims to create a high income society across the nation.

The ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme is a new programme provided by ECERDC under its current entrepreneur ECER programme, which has been implemented since 2011.  entrepreneur ECER is part of ECERDC’s human capital initiative which aims to develop entrepreneurs in the Region. In addition to Maybank, ECERDC is also collaborating with Agrobank and SIRIM Berhad in the entrepreneur ECER programme, which has benefited another 1,365 entrepreneurs in ECER to date.

To be implemented starting this month, the ECER-Maybank Entrepreneurship Scheme offers four types of financial assistance namely, SME Portfolio Guarantee-i, SME Property Business Financing-i, SME Micro Financing and Retail Micro Financing. The Retail Micro-Financing scheme is unique as it is offered exclusively to women entrepreneurs, with a maximum loan amount of RM10,000. The other three types of loan offer financing amount which varies from RM20,000 to RM500,000.

Under this scheme, ECERDC willtop up the interest/profit rate charges applicable under the various loan schemes by up to 50%, thereby reducing the total repayment amount for the entrepreneurs.

To apply for the loan, the businesses involved must be operating in ECER. Other conditions for entrepreneurs to apply for this loan are they must conduct the business on full-time basis, the business must be registered with the relevant authority, and a minimum 51% equity must be held by Malaysian citizen. Interested entrepreneurs may contact ECERDC or visit any Maybank branches in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang or Mersing to apply for the scheme.

ECERDC together with Maybank is planning to organise outreach activities to further promote this programme to the public starting from this month.

At today’s event, ECERDC also announced new investment commitments worth RM3.57 billion in ECER by 16 companies in the fourth quarter of 2014, including 8 companies that are beneficiaries of the Government’s Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU) initiatives.

To date, 29 companies in ECER with an overall investment value of RM646.5 million have benefitted from TERAJU’s Facilitation Fund worth RM84.1 million, while 65 companies have been identified as Syarikat Bumiputera Berprestasi Tinggi (TeraS).

The event also witnessed the appointment of three anchor companies to operate and manage large-scale commercial agriculture projects in ECER, namely The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhd, CSC Integrated Herbal Farm Sdn Bhd and Genetic Improvement and Farm Technologies Sdn Bhd (GIFT).

The Holstein Milk Company Sdn Bhdwas appointed as the anchor company for Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre built by ECERDC in Pahang.  The Holstein Milk Company will invest RM30 million to operate and manage MSCRIC, and this project will create 100 satellite farmers as part of its support network.

CSC Integrated Herbal Farm Sdn Bhd will invest in, operate and manage ECER’s Herbal Integrated Cluster Development or HICD in Chegar Perah, Pahang. The company will invest RM20 million by 2020 for the cultivation of various herbal produce, whereby this project is expected to create 36 contract farmers and entrepreneurs among the locals, with the potential to earn RM5,000 per month.

Genetic Improvement and Farm Technologies Sdn Bhd (GIFT) was appointed as the anchor company for Kuala Berang Sheep Breeding & Innovation Centre (KBSBIC) built by ECERDC in Terengganu, where it will invest RM10 million to enhance and develop an efficient and sustainable sheep breeding programme.

Since 2007 to-date, ECER has attracted investments worth RM72.26 billion, which have created 73,281 job opportunities for the rakyat. The investment figure marks 66% of ECER’s investment target of RM110 billion by 2020.

Pahang led the way in terms of investments, with RM35.23 billion, followed by Terengganu with RM24.24 billion, Kelantan with RM11.17 billion and Mersing with RM1.61 billion.