A SPECIAL allocation for Indian small and medium entrepreneurs (SME) as well as petty traders should be included in Budget 2023, says Johor Indian Petty Traders Association chairman D. Ravindran.

He said the allocation process should also be more transparent, with funds handed over directly to associations and not through any third party.

“Having a special quota is important as the allocation for SMEs now is given regardless of race.

“Often, applicants from the Indian community are left out.

“Some need more time to complete their application forms and by the time they send them, the places would be filled and funds disbursed,” he added.

The allocation under the Malaysian Indian Community Transformation (Mitra) should also prioritise petty traders and ensure that the aid reaches target recipients, said Ravindran.

“The government should meet us because only we know the issues on the ground,” he said, adding that the association was ready to provide its input.

Johor Baru City Businessmen and Traders Association president Roland Lim Chin Eng said the authorities should focus on addressing the shortage of workers.

“This problem has been around for quite a long time and has not only affected small businesses but also large-scale production facilities.

“If this labour shortage continues, it will drive away investors and affect the country’s economy,” he said.

Lim said if the government wished to bring back the goods and services tax, it should be at a lower rate than before so that people would not be overly burdened.