Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the involvement of Sarawak bumiputra in business was still very low.
“MARA is trying very hard to help rural folks to get out of poverty. We believe that one of the most effective ways is to develop entrepreneurial skills in small and medium-scale industries like the manufacture of food products. We want to balance the economic scale between the bumiputra and non-bumiputra.
“In Sarawak, the rural areas have a lot of raw materials and resources. However, without knowledge and skills, the natives will not be able to capitalise on the resources. This is why we want to get more natives to participate in MARA's business development programmes,'' he said after launching a trade expo organised by MARA in Sibu.
He said that surveys carried out by MARA in remote towns and villages showed that many school-leavers there did not know what to do because their public examination results were not good enough for them to qualify for university.
“We want to give hope to these school-leavers who cannot find a place in any public or private higher education institute. MARA has many business development programmes suited for this group of school-leavers,'' he said.