KUALA LUMPUR: The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector has performed remarkably well in the past one decade, recording growth exceeding the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), in its SME Annual Report 2014/2015, said the SME sector grew at an average annual rate of 7.1 per cent versus 4.9 per cent of the GDP in the 2005-2014 period.
It said the SME GDP grew at a phenomenal rate of 13.6 per cent in 2014 versus 6.4 per cent of the national GDP in 2013, attributed mainly to the one-off effect of the new SME definition which came into force in January 2014. “Nevertheless, excluding the redefinition effect, the growth of the SME GDP remained strong at 7.9 per cent last year, supported by growth across all sectors of the economy,” SME Corp added.
If the global outlook and Malaysia’s growth forecast of between 4.5 and 5.5 per cent this year is anything to go by, the SME GDP is expected to expand between 5.0 and 5.5 per cent in 2015, SME Corp said. It said in line with Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN, the SME Annual Report 2014/2015 themed ‘One Business, One Community’ highlights opportunities for SMEs with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by year-end.
With a market size of 625 million people, the AEC is expected to provide boundless opportunities for Malaysian SMEs. “To reap the benefits, the SMEs must be ready to penetrate into the region and face the challenges. However, the First Quarter 2015 SME Survey revealed that only 40 of the respondents were aware of the AEC,” it said.
In an effort to raise awareness of AEC and ASEAN market opportunities among the SMEs, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry organised the AEC Open Day in August 2015 which drew over 600 representatives from SME and industry associations. --Bernama