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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is greeted by the public during the launch of a RM30 million micro credit scheme to help Chinese hawkers and petty traders In Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur. Pix by KHAIRULL AZRY BIDIN.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launched a RM30 million micro credit scheme to help Chinese hawkers and petty traders finance their businesses.

Najib said the new micro-credit scheme would be much less restrictive than regular bank loans, and allow businesses to borrow between RM5,000 and RM15,000 per loan.

The scheme, he said, was aimed at helping hawkers and petty traders who often had trouble obtaining bank loans, which required borrowers to have fixed incomes or assets that can be used as collateral.

"Most hawkers and traders are from the middle and lower income group who may not have the assets needed to guarantee their loan.

"When desperate, many end up becoming victims of ah longs (loan sharks)," he said when launching the scheme at Jalan Alor here.

The scheme had been first announced last year as part of Budget 2015.

Najib said hawkers and petty traders must be given assistance as they played an important role in providing quality affordable food and contributing to economic growth.

"The country's development must be inclusive and fair, particularly to those in the lower income group."

"The government must do all it can to help and provide assistance to this group, regardless of ethnicity," he said.

Present were Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, the Federation of Chinese Hawkers and Petty Traders' Associations president Datuk Lee Teong Chwee, and Jalan Alor Hawkers and Traders' Association Beh Kok Khiang.

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