Yayasan PETRONAS, a Corporate Social Responsibility unit of PETRONAS has recently announced Program MEKAR (Memampankan Ekonomi Asas Rakyat) through their foundation, Sentuhan Harapan. The initiative aims to assist 3,400 B40 or low income families in targeted districts across Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.
Launched in phases for a period of 24 months, the programme would address poverty at the grassroots level with the provision of basic needs such as water, electricity and food. It also provides training to improve the B40 communities’ living standards and income stream.
CEO of Yayasan PETRONAS, Lita Osman said, “Efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment requires long-term commitment. We are taking this opportunity to invest in resources for at least two years to ensure sustainable economic growth amongst the communities in these targeted districts. Through Program MEKAR, we want to create an equitable society and narrow the income gap as Malaysia progresses into a high-income developed nation.”
Yayasan PETRONAS first collaborated with the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) to kick off empowerNCER – Program MEKAR in Kedah in November 2019. To date, successful beneficiaries have recorded significant income improvements, with some earning 10 times more than previously.
One of the beneficiaries, Norhazima Abdul Jalil, 34, from Pendang, said, “Previously, I stayed at home and earned about RM500 a month selling food, in addition to helping my husband work at a rubber plantation. I took the courage to participate in the skills and entrepreneurship training offered via empowerNCER – Program MEKAR funded by Yayasan PETRONAS, and now I own a stall selling various types of noodles and earn 12 times more than my previous income.
Through Program MEKAR, Yayasan PETRONAS aims to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for Malaysians, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 8 as well as PETRONAS’ Sustainability Agenda.