Saturday, 24 November 2012

Fresh start for ex-convict

S. A. Balachandran borrowed RM150,000 from friends and family to start a business after his release from prison.

However, his business harvesting chillies took a bad turn after 10,000 of his trees were destroyed.

He now has a chance to rebuild, thanks to a RM40,000 loan from Tekun Nasional's Indian Entrepre-neurs Development Scheme.

“I was sentenced to 16 years in 1998 for drug possession and was released in 2009.

“I decided to start the business after learning about agriculture in prison.” said Balachandran, when met at the Tekun cheque presentation ceremony on Tuesday.

The Perak-born said as a former prisoner, it was difficult for him to get loans from banks

He said he actually applied for a RM30,000 loan but only received RM10,000 last year.

“I still had to borrow from Ah Long,” said Balachandran.

The 43-year old, however, does not want to give up.

“I do not want go into crime again,'' he said, adding that he needs to succeed so he can pay for his daughter's college education.

“I hope the Government will initiate a programme to help guide ex-convicts when they are released from prison to ensure they do not go down the same path again.

“We deserve a second chance as we can change,” he said.

MIC vice-president Datuk S.K. Devamany said 4,520 recipients have successfully obtained loans under the scheme..

“The Prime Minister allocated RM30mil this year for Malaysian Indian micro-enterprise businesses to apply under Tekun Nasional.

“A further RM50mil has been budgeted for next year,” he said, adding that officers ensure the applicants are genuine and will use the loans for their businesses.

MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel gave out the cheques to succeessful recipients -The Star


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