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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should take advantage of corporate social responsibility programmes to create win-win situations that benefit the community and their businesses.

PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Micheal Tio say SMEs often view corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the wrong light and end up not gaining from it or truly helping the community.

For many companies, the word CSR means spending money but they fail to see the bigger picture of how such programmes not only bring positive impact to society but also the company involved.

“CSR actually reflects how responsible SMEs are over their profits,” he told StarMetro, on the sidelines of the Star Outstanding Business Awards Learning Series event in Batu Pahat, Johor last Thursday.

While sharing insights about his company during a special session with some 30 participants from SME, Tio said SMEs could be companies that help society through CSR programmes that localise employment.

“We have to make sure that the community enjoys a share of the success,” he said, citing PKT Logistics Group’s Abib (Anak Belajar, Ibu Bekerja) and Smart Truckers initiatives as examples of CSR programmes.

We have been employing mothers from surrounding areas to work part-time instead of hiring foreign workers.

“They come in for four hours either for the morning or afternoon shifts and can earn about RM30 for each session,” he added.

He added that the programme not only opens up an avenue for housewives to earn some money but offers them an opportunity to learn skills that might be useful if they choose to rejoin the workforce full-time.

In the Smart Truckers programme, we are providing fresh graduates a clear career path starting at the bottom of operations as truck drivers, earning between RM4,000 and RM5,000 a month.

“The programme will help to solve the nation’s issues with untrained and unprofessional drivers, who contribute to traffic problems,” he said.

At the same event, Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) senior vice-president for marketing and sales Wong Keet Loong guided the participants on availability of financial schemes and procedures to obtain loans.

Many SMEs usually do not know where to go for financing to grow their businesses, and even if they do, their applications for loans at financial institutions are quite often turned down.

“We can help these businesses by offering them specially designed loans or guarantee the banks to offer them loans,” he said adding that CGC is aiming for RM3.5bil in term of financing and guarantee schemes this year.

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