KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Islamic Bank Bhd has teamed up with Malaysian Technology Development Corp (MTDC) to provide financing for Bumiputera technology-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under the Bumiputera Expansion Fund (BEF) scheme.

MTDC currently manages RM150 million fund for the BEF scheme via Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju).

Under the pact, RHB Islamic will be the custodian of the fund, which will be placed in the bank’s commodity murabahah deposit-i account.

RHB Islamic managing director Ibrahim Hassan said the fund is expected to raise financing of at least RM300 million for eligible Bumiputera companies.

Ibrahim said RHB Islamic will also have the exclusivity to serve the pre-qualified SMEs which have undergone a rigorous selection process by MTDC to enable them to be eligible for the BEF scheme.

MTDC chief executive officer Datuk Norhalim Yunus said BEF scheme aims at assisting the expansion of promising technology-based companies involved in biotechnology, green technology, nanotecnology and food technology.

"Such funding support is highly relevant especially taking into account that enhanced funding support for SMEs is crucial to ensure that Malaysia achieves its goal of becoming high-income nation by 2020," Norhalim said yesterday.

He added that the collaboration with RHB Islamic is significant as it offers a unique market proposition and generates better value for local technology-based companies to expand their business both locally and abroad.

RHB Banking Group deputy group managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli said with the availability of the fund, the bank hopes more Bumiputera companies will come forward with high impact technology-based projects that have the potential of not only strengthening the country's economy but also benefiting the country in terms of creating jobs and building a highly skilled workforce.

"The collaboration between RHB Islamic and MTDC is in line with the government's call to empower the SMEs and we are confident that it will bring Malaysia a step closer towards achieving its aspiration of becoming high-income nation by 2020," Khairussaleh said.

He added the banking group recently embarked on a transformation programme aimed at positioning the group as a leading multinational financial service provider by 2020 and lifting Islamic banking as the country's leader in the business.

"With innovative product offerings and an enhanced distribution model, we are confident that RHB Islamic will achieve its aspiration in becoming one of the top Islamic banks in Malaysia by 2017," he said.

Since its establishment in 1992, MTDC has nurtured over 600 companies under its funding programmes for the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plans. These companies have garnered total sales of RM1.8 billion, created over 5,000 new jobs and filed over 500 intellectual property rights.