State government to continue developing SME growth in Sarawak
MIRI: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak are urged to think big and expand their horizons by exporting abroad to help boost the state as well as Malaysia’s economy.
With approximately 44,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak, Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan highlighted that such number has represented 6.8 per cent of the total number of SMEs throughout the country, making the number of SMEs in Sarawak the fifth largest in Malaysia.
“SMEs are a key driver of our economic growth and therefore greater focus should be given to SME development in the state.
“This is clearly reflected in the recent change of my Ministry’s name from Ministry of Industrial Development Sarawak to the Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Sarawak,” he stated when officiating the state level ‘SMEs Week 2016’ here, recently.
In view of that, Tengah who is also Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment pointed out that SMEs should think big and start exporting their products.
“As Sarawak’s domestic market is small, SMEs must think big and go for export. We just have to target our neighbouring countries in the context of Asean Economic Community which has a total market size of 625 million consumers.
“Across our Miri border is Brunei, whose consumers have high purchasing power, while Kalimantan Barat next to Tebedu has a potential market of more than five million consumers.”
He said Sarawak hoped to achieve high income state by year 2030 and such aspiration can only be made into reality through industrialisation.
He noted that the government has set a clear target to increase the SMEs contributions by year 2020.
The targets, he said, are to increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 33 per cent to 41 per cent, workforce (59 per cent to 65 per cent) and to increase the export aspect from 19 per cent to 23 per cent.
“Sarawak is rich with natural resources and that’s why we encourage investment in high technology industries to increase value added in the economy.
“At the same time, SMEs should be more creative and innovative in effort continue to compete in the challenging global world,” he added.
Domestically, he said, the state government has developed industrial parks with a complete set of facilities for SMEs in the state.
“To date, we have spent more than RM3 billion to develop more than 7,300 hectare of industrial land for SMEs. In addition to that, a total of 8,800 hectare of industrial land in Samalaju for energy based industry and developed 77,000 hectare land for halal hub in Tanjung Manis.”
Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, he said the government, in line with the ‘Go Rural Policy’, will develop more industrial parks in rural Sarawak in Lundu, Betong, Sri Aman, Sebuyau, Marudi, Kapit, Bau and Sibu.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that the government as well as a wide array of SME-related agencies are readily available to support and assistance SMEs in the form of financial and non-financial aids.
He said the government has organised various courses and seminar for entrepreneur development to increase the business capacity of SMEs in the state.
He added the government until today has provided incentive to further intensify the SMEs’ development growth, including the micro entrepreneur.
Last year, he said various SMEs related agencies and ministry has provided loans to boost the SMEs business capacity.
There were TEKUN Nasional Foundation (RM1.76 million), Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) with RM188.2 million, some RM7.9 million from Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (TERAJU), SME Bank (RM233 million), Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) RM2.8 million and Ministry of Industrial Development allocated loan totaling RM3.5 million for SMEs development.
On the SMEs week, he gave his thumbs up to the event which conducted under the National SMEs Council’s initiative.
He said the objectives of the event were to nurture the entrepreneurship culture in the country as well as to introduce the SMEs’ products and services provided by various industries.
Later at the same function, he presented recognition awards to seven Sarawak entrepreneur icons by SME Corp Malaysia.
They were Lantana Service Sdn Bhd, Lana Corporation Sdn Bhd, Putri Sejinjang Spa, Qaturie Offshore Engineering Sdn Bhd, Rosfaniaga Service Sdn Bhd, HMN Nadhir Sdn Bhd and NH Majujaya Enterprise.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Assistant Minister of Solidarity Rosey Yunus, Lambir Assemblyman Ripin Lamat, Batu Danau Assemblyman Paulus Palu Ngumbang, permanent secretary to Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Datu Liaw Soon Eng, SME Corp Malaysia’s chief operation officer (COO) Che Nazli Jaapar and Miri deputy resident Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf.