Asean bank for women proposed

Hanoi – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has proposed that an Asean bank for women be set up in order to help empower women entrepreneurs.

She said the matter was one of several items brought up at the third Asean Ministerial Meeting on Women (AMMW) held here on Thursday.

“If there is space and opportunity for women entrepreneurs to be empowered then there should be an Asean bank for women,” she told reporters here.

As an example, she said women entrepreneurs in Malaysia received aid via initiatives such as Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia and MySMELady, which offer loans of up to RM1 million.

Dr Wan Azizah said statistics showed that 99.9 per cent of women who took up AIM loans serviced their loans, compared to 86 per cent of men.

She said the proposals brought up at and views expressed during AMMW would be discussed by senior officials of Asean member nations.

Earlier, Dr Wan Azizah held a bilateral discussion with her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, her last official function during her three-day visit here.

In the 45-minute meeting, she said, the two deputy prime ministers agreed to protect peace and freedom of trade in the South China Sea.

“We also discussed how we can increase tourism and investments between Malaysia and Vietnam,” she said.

Since diplomatic relations began between the two countries 45 years ago, Vietnam has become an important trading partner for Malaysia, with total trade in 2017 amounting to US$11.7 billion, up 13.9 per cent compared to 2016. (Bernama)