Under the Urban Poverty Eradication Programme, the Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being allocated funds for local councils in the country to build kiosks for the poor to enable them to set up their own businesses.
MBI received an allocation of RM600,000 and 40 kiosks were constructed in different parts of the city. The kiosks are of simple design and each costs RM10,000 to build. The kiosks are rented free of charge to people who had registered under the eKaseh programme. The keys were handed to the participants in May 2012 and start-up capital of RM5000 was provided.
The kiosks are being administered by the Department of Community Affairs, MBI. According to the department only 16 of the participants are doing business and this level of participation is satisfactory. The Department intends to hold a meeting with the participants and give motivational talks.
The intention of the government is good, but not all poor people are inclined to do business. The kiosk is suitable for selling newspapers, home-cooked food and confectionaries. The place is too small and it is not possible to prepare food there. Other people are already selling these things near the kiosks and their businesses are established. There is tough competition.
I think one of the options would be to train the people to make handicraft like artificial flowers and handbags and supply to shops that trade in this business. Train them to do cottage industry. Teach them tailoring. The best thing for them is home-based businesses. They can look after their family and carry out business as well. Alternatively, give them small plots of land to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers and rear poultry. This may be more suitable for them.
I have only highlighted the situation in Ipoh. This programme has been implemented throughout the country. The intention of the government is good, but does it serve the purpose? Perhaps the government needs to discuss with the people before implementing any programme.