RM13 million to help Sabah’s hardcore poor
Sabah’s poverty eradication efforts are being complemented by the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development’s (MECD) RM13 million assistance programme for the hardcore poor in the State. Its Minister, Datuk Noh Omar, said the special programme will be conducted through Giatmara centres in Sabah and offer skills training courses as well as the necessary equipment to enable eligible participants to start earning an income. Speaking to reporters at the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) seminar here yesterday, Noh said those who qualify will be sent for five-day courses on skills that can help boost their family’s income such as tailoring, cake baking, and hand phone repairing. “Other than paying the participants’ transportation fees to and from the training centre, MECD is also giving them a daily allowance of RM35. At the end of the course, the participants will be given a ‘tool kit’ or the necessary equipment specifically used to apply what they have learnt. “For example those who take the tailoring course will be given a sewing machine whereas participants of the cake baking or kuih making courses will be given an oven each,” he said adding that a total of 36 courses are being offered to those identified as hardcore poor, including single mothers. This way, the participants will feel that what they have learnt is not wasted as they have something to work with and jumpstart their business, he said. “Those who take up the sewing or tailoring classes can use the sewing machines provided to make clothes for their own family first. They can later take in sewing requests from neighbours and other villagers,” he said. Giatmara officers and community leaders have the responsibility to help these people register for the courses according to their needs, he said. According to Noh, not only would the participants be taught the skills, they will also be taught business skills, including basic knowledge of marketing. He said those who have established their business can also seek assistance from the Ministry if they want to expand. “They can apply for loans from Tekun to expand their equipment range,” he said, adding that an amount under RM1O,000 would be approved on the spot for those who are qualified.