Malaysia has provided financial assistance worth 23 billion RM (about 7.5 billion USD) to more than 51,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the past three decades, the Malaysian International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) has said.

The assistance was disbursed through the ministry’s agencies such as SME Corp Malaysia, Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) and SME Bank.

The help is credited with many successful stories of SMEs with Top Glove Corp Bhd as an outstanding example, which rose from a small domestic player to become the world's largest rubber glove producer.

At the Malaysia Entrepreneurship Forum 2014 earlier this week, MITI Minister Mustapa Mohamed said of the 23 billion RM, the largest sum of 11.8 billion RM (over the past 30 years) was disbursed by MIDF by way of soft loans or grants, followed by SME Bank (8 billion RM) and SME Corp (3.4 million RM).

The minister stressed that SMEs form the backbone of the economy and, hence, their progress and activities will boost the growth of the economy. He, however, urged the SMEs to grow their market overseas, such as China and Middle East.-VNA