Saturday, July 21, 2007

RM180m allocated for Malaysians to set up restaurants abroad

The Finance Ministry has allocated RM180mil to give loans to Malaysians who want to set up restaurants overseas through the MalaysiaKitchen programme.

"MalaysiaKitchen is an effort by the government to promote awareness and understanding of the country through food.

"We also want to encourage the usage of local agricultural products like rambutan, mangosteen, durians and also our spices,” said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said to qualify for the loan the business must be registered in Malaysia with 70% Malaysian ownership.

The menu of the restaurant must include at least 70% Malaysian food and the raw ingredients should also be sourced locally.

The decor must be of a Malaysian theme and 10% of space has to be set aside for exhibition and demonstration of Malaysian arts and craft and agricultural products.

Loan applications must be through the Exim Bank Malaysia. There is an interest rate of 3% per annum.

There is a processing fee of RM2,000 or 0.1% of the financing amount, whichever is higher.

“At the moment, we have about 400 Malaysian Kitchens around the world. We hope to bring the figure up to 8,000,” said Ng at the launch of “Best of Beijing” food promotion at Nikko Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant.

Ng said to continue attracting visitors to the country, the Malaysian hospitality industry must invent and innovate.

“We need new products, new type of food, and new type of experiences,” she said.

She said with globalisation and with the number of tourists travelling around the world, food definitely plays a very important role.

“Food, glorious food. Love blossoms over food. Business deals and even international policies are settled over food. Tourists today not only go to a destination to look at beautiful places or to shop but also to taste the food,” said Ng.

She hopes that with more MalaysianKitchens being set up overseas, tourists would want to visit the country after trying Malaysian cuisine.

Also present at the launch was Embassy of the People’s Republic of China political consular and mission deputy head Gu Jingqi.

Tourism Ministry Secretary General Datuk Dr Victor Wee said there was a 10% increase in tourists coming to Malaysia in the first quarter of this year.

The number of visitors from China recorded a 60% increase.

Source : STAR
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