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Financial Inclusion

Financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

SMEs are a critical component of the Malaysian economy, contributing more than a third of gross domestic product (GDP) and providing job opportunities to more than four million workers in Malaysia. Banking institutions is the main source of financing for SMEs, providing more than 90% of total financing. Provision of SME financing is also complemented by the Development Financial Institutions, Bank Negara Malaysia’s Funds for SMEs and Government Funds

SME Definition

The new definition for SMEs in Malaysia was endorsed at the 14th National SME Development Council (NSDC) meeting in July 2013. The council  is chaired by the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak, with members from key Ministries and Agencies.

  • The Guideline for New SME Definition was issued by SME Corporation Malaysia, the Secretariat of the NSDC, and acting as the Central Coordinating Agency for the overall SME development in Malaysia; and

Broadly, the new definition for SMEs took effect from 1 January 2014  has been simplified under two categories, namely:

  • Manufacturing: Sales turnover not exceeding RM50 million OR full-time employees not exceeding 200 workers; and
  • Services and other sectors: Sales turnover not exceeding RM20 million OR full-time employees not exceeding 75 workers.

The details by size of operations are as follows:






Sales turnover of less than RM 300,000


Full-time employees less than 5

Sales turnover from RM300,000 to less than RM15 million


full-time employees from 5

to less than 75

Sales turnover from RM15 million to not exceeding RM50 million


full-time employees from 75

to not exceeding 200

Sales turnover from RM300,000

to less than RM3 million


full-time employees from 5

to less than 30

Sales turnover from                       RM3 million

to not exceeding RM20 million


full-time employees from 30

to not exceeding 75

Services & Other Sector

For more information on SME definition, visit


Initiatives to Support Access to Financing for SMEs

Bank Negara Malaysia’s Funds for SMEs

Bank Negara Malaysia has recently consolidated the existing BNM's Special Funds into an omnibus fund and is now renamed as BNM's Fund for SMEs or Tabung BNM untuk PKS. The funds are channelled through participating financial institutions (PFIs) comprising all licensed banks, prescribed development financial institutions and the Corporate Guarantee Corporation Berhad (CGC). Application must be submitted through any PFIs and approval will be subjected to the normal credit assessment of the PFI.

- Enhance access to financing at reasonable cost for SMEs in all economic sectors

Provide financing to Bumiputera entrepreneurs who have been awarded contracts/projects by the Government, Government-related agencies, statutory bodies and reputable private/public companies.
-  For more details on BEPF-i, please click the link

For article publications on BNM's Fund for SMEs, please click the link below.
Articles on Access to Financing for SMEs


Credit Guarantee Corporation Schemes

Development Financial Institutions (DFIs)

The DFIs that prescribed under Development Financial Institutions Act 2002 provide financing to the SMEs, including micro enterprises of various strategic economic sectors. Apart from financing, these institutions provide a broad range of advisory services to supplement the financial services, including financial management, business diagnosis and marketing support

Non-financial institution lenders

Non-financial institution lenders play a complementary role in the financing ecosystem. They facilitate business growth by providing financing and ancillary services, including:

  • Specialised funds which include equity financing to support businesses at different stages of the business life cycle, thus helping to address funding gaps unmet by financial institutions;
  • Advisory services including facilitation from the conceptualisation of a business to its commercialisation, legal and marketing advice;
  • Promoting strategic partnerships by linking businesses to public and private partners;
  • Capacity building programmes including training and coaching;
  • Promoting angel investments and creating awareness of investment opportunities;
  • Assistance in securing the protection of intellectual property e.g. registration of patents, trademarks and copyright, industrial design; and
  • Technology scouting programmes to connect entrepreneurs with the desired technology to improve their productivity.

Among the non-financial institutions in Malaysia are:

An agency under the Ministry of Finance that manages Cradle Investment Programme, a development and commercialisation grant to fund technology startups. For further information, visit, or

A Government-owned company that was established in mid 2002 to provide project financing facilities to ICT companies to finance procurement of the necessary project inputs, capital expenditure and working capital. Through its Partner Banks, MDV provides trade and guarantee facilities as required by the project or contract. For further information, visit

Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) was created to jump start wealth creation through knowledge, technology and innovation to stimulate and develop the innovation eco-system in Malaysia. AIM lays down the foundation of innovation that inspire and produce a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs. AIM facilitates collaborations between government, academia and industry in advancing the consolidation and execution of new ideas in innovation. For further information, visit

PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AIM, provides end-to-end facilitation for commercialisation of innovations from ideas to products and services, including financing support. For further information, visit


Alternative financing


Investment Account Platform (IAP)

The IAP, launched in February 2016, is a multi-bank platform that facilitates channelling of funds from investors to finance viable ventures, including SMEs. It is intermediated by participating Islamic banks via restricted Investment Account (RA) as governed under IFSA 2013 and DFIA 2002. The platform is operated by IAP Integrated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raeed Holdings, where the latter is a consortium of six financial institutions namely Maybank Islamic, Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, Affin Islamic Berhad, Bank Simpanan Nasional& Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad. For further information, visit

Crowd funding

Malaysia is the first country in ASEAN to introduce a regulatory framework to facilitate equity crowdfunding in 2015, with six registered equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform operators, i.e. Alix Global, Ata Plus, Crowdo, Eureeca, Equity.pitchIN and, to fully operationalise by 2016. It is a suitable platform to allow start-ups obtain capital/financing from relatively large number of investors/lenders. This platform fosters innovation at the early stage, and enhances opportunities for follow-on financing (private equity, VC and bank financing). For further information, visit



Small Debt Resolution Scheme


Bank Negara Malaysia has established the Small Debt Resolution Scheme (SDRS) to assist viable SMEs that are constrained by impaired financing from single or multiple financial institutions by facilitating restructuring or rescheduling plan and where appropriate, providing new financing.


Capacity Building Programmes for SMEs

i. Train-the-Trainers

Bank Negara Malaysia has embarked on the Train-the-Trainers (TTT) programme in 2016, aimed at enhancing the capabilities of financial institutions in delivering quality advisory services to the SMEs.

This programme is premised on the close collaboration between Bank Negara Malaysia, Bankers’ Associations led by the Association of Banks in Malaysia, SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad and Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit. The programme was established to bridge the information asymmetry issues highlighted at the Workshop on SME Financing organised by the Bank for the industry and SMEs.

TTT will assist in enhancing the level of awareness on the availability of various initiatives and services established by the Government to facilitate SMEs.  

ii. Awareness Programmes

Bank Negara Malaysia continuously conducts various outreach programme to SMEs and the public in promoting financial inclusion and SME financing access. Bank Negara Malaysia also  participates in several events organised by the Ministries and key government agencies. The programmes aimed at elevating the awareness level and knowledge among the entrepreneurs on various initiatives and assistances provided for the SMEs.


Access to Financing for Micro Enterprises

Sustainable microfinance (Pembiayaan Mikro)

Pembiayaan Mikro is a scheme that enables fast, easy and convenient access to business financing of up to RM50,000 without collateral from participating financial institutions (PFIs), thereby overcoming problems arising from the lack of credit history and collateral which often prevented SMEs from obtaining financing facilities. This scheme has been supporting the financing needs of micro enterprises since 2006 under the National Sustainable Microfinance framework. In addition, micro businesses can access to financing at a lower rate, from Micro Enterprise Fund that is established by Bank Negara Malaysia, and is channelled through the PFIs of Pembiayaan Mikro.

For more information, view list of ten participating FIs and their Pembiayaan Mikro product features

Pembiayaan Mikro Financing Rates

Comparative Table on Financing Rates of Participating Financial Institutions of Pembiayaan Mikro.

(Note: Customer obtaining financing under Micro Enterprise Fund may get lower financing rate)

Financial Institutions

Product Name

Financing Rates

As advertised by FIs

Annual effective rates

  • Modal Usahawan 1 Malaysia-i (MUS1M-i) 
  • Min: 7.92% (flat rate)
  • Min 14%


  • Skim Pembiayaan Mikro-I - Modal untuk Usahawan Kecil  (MUsK)
  • Skim Pembiayaan Mikro-I - Individu
  • Skim Pembiayaan Mikro-I - Tanpa Panel
  • 8.25% to 14.55%
    (flat rate)
  • 14.53% to  24.04%

(Note: rebate 2% - 4% monthly)

  • BSN Micro / BSN Micro-i
  • 6.38% to 11.26%
  • 11.48% to 19.20%

  • Cash First Personal Loan
  • Cash Vantage Personal Financing-i
  • 9.08% to14.28%
    (flat rate)
  • 15.84% to 23.65%

  • AmMikro Plus

Loan Amount RM5K to

  • 24% to 30%

Loan Amount RM20K to RM50K

  • BR+4.35% to  BR+4.60%

Loan Amount RM5K to

  • 24% to 30%

Plan B: Loan Amount RM20K to RM50K

  • 8.15% to  8.40%

  • Xpress Cash Financing-i
  •  21% (flat rate)
  • 32.92%


  • Skim Micro Bazar Tok Guru / Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah
  • 3.75% to 6.50% (flat rate)
  •  6.98% to 11.68%


  • Retail Micro Financing
  • SME Micro Financing
  • 24%
  • 10% to12%
  • 24%
  • 10% to12%

  • PBMicro Finance
  • Term Financing-i / Micro Enterprise Fund
  • 1.8% to 2.5% p.m.
  • 21.6% to 30%


  • Easi Cash
  • 9.99% to 11.99% (yearly rest)
  • 11.47% to 13.70%


The Skim Pembiayaan Mikro complements other Government-sponsored microfinance programmes such as Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) and TEKUN Nasional.

For more information, visit:


Alternative product for short-term Islamic micro financing whereby the customer will pledge gold as a collateral for financing. For more information, visit the website of the following financial institution:

There are also other providers of micro financing which are not within the purview of  Bank Negara Malaysia such as:

The Skim Pembiayaan Mikro complements other Government-sponsored microfinance programmes such as Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) and TEKUN Nasional.