Home Highlight Financial assistance and protection for local traders and SMEs in Sabah under the Petra Kasih initiative

Financial assistance and protection for local traders and SMEs in Sabah under the Petra Kasih initiative

by Grace Sundram

The Petra Group will be providing financial support to small-medium enterprises (SMEs) and local traders in Sabah under the Vinod Sekhar Foundation Petra Kasih programme. In conjunction with the group’s Malaysia Day celebration, the newly formed foundation is focused on helping the local community as well as supporting the country’s economic recovery.

“In the face of Covid-19, we must put aside all our prejudices and stand together. Our country and our people have been seriously affected with livelihoods lost, businesses closing down and with many struggling to make ends meet, said Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Group Chief Executive of the Petra Group.

“It is a national imperative that SMEs and farmers, the backbone of our economy, are provided with financial assistance and protection during these trying times.”


Under the Petra Kasih programme are four main projects that will be implemented throughout the country. These initiatives are aimed to provide the help that is required by every community in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula. Main programmes consist of a micro-financing investment scheme, a farm upscaling programme, the introduction and the cultivation of a new high-value crop and a concert in support of the local creative industry.


The Sekhar Economic Initiative will run two programmes that will begin in Ranau, Sabah. Its aim is to help farmers as well as fishermen on six fundamental needs; basic necessities, medication, food, housing and education, as well as capital for farmers to upgrade their equipment and increase their production capacity.

Whereas the second project, The Vanilla Initiative’s main objective is to boost the local economy by bringing in vanilla beans. As an alternative lucrative crop, this could improve the farmers revenue stream. Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar also mentioned that with the available technology and what not, they are able to do shared farming with this new crop especially with the fact that there are interested parties who are able to lend a helping hand internationally.


In addition to the Sekhar Economic Initiative, the Vinod Sekhar Foundation Petra Kasih programme will also host a concert which will be a revival of the iconic Konsert IKHLAS back in 1992. With the aim to support the creative industry, the concert will be led by the Chief Executive of PETRA Visionworks Studios, Dato’ Afdlin Shauki.

“The PETRA KASIH concert is our way of showing that culture, music, and the arts are integral aspects of a nation’s creative achievements, said Dato’ Afdlin Shauki.

“COVID-19 has heavily impacted the arts and culture scene in Malaysia with many people losing their income overnight. We hope that this concert will inspire Malaysians to hold on to and support the arts to help them come out of months of silence during the Movement Control Order. We are currently exploring avenues of organising the concert in the new normal without compromising the experience and atmosphere.”


A preview of the concert was featured at the Petra Group Malaysia Day Celebration event with an amazing line-up that included Dato’ Zainal Abidin, Dato’ Afdlin Shauki, K-Clique, Vince Chong, Dasha Logan and The 15.

Besides the launch of the Petra Kasih initiative, Datuk Dr Vinod Sekhar also officially introduced The Vibes to all esteemed guests. This “impartial and down right in the middle” news portal will strive to provide its readers a perspective that is as neutral as possible.

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