KUCHING: The Ministry of International Trade and Industries (Miti) has reaffirmed its commitment to put the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the country’s main agenda.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed said there was the need to strengthen existing relationships and streamline collaborations among state governments and relevant departments and agencies in order to go forward to create a vibrant, inclusive and holistic business environment for all industries including micro-enterprises in rural areas.
“We want the commitment of all stakeholders including departments and agencies across the country in order to be successful,” he said at the townhall session with SMEs, organised by the ministry here yesterday.
“We want to see the gap of SMEs across Malaysia narrowed because we recognise their importance in the economy,” he added.
The session was intended at sharing the government’s aspirations to ensure the involvement of SMEs in Sarawak in national development.
Jointly organised by Miti, SMECorp and state Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Ministry (Mieti), the meeting was participated by some 500 people from the SME community, chambers of commerce, banking institutions, ministries, agencies, associations as well as universities and research institutions.
Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Trade and Investment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister for Industrial Development (Investment and Promotion) Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Assistant Minister for Entrepreneur Development Datuk Naroden Majais, Mieti permanent secretary Datu Liaw Soon Eng and SME Corp deputy chief executive Rizal Nainy were also present.
To accelerate the development of SMEs in Malaysia, Mustapha said the draft of the National SME Act was now 70 per cent complete.
“It is expected to be tabled in Parliament next year. Through the Act, the framework to develop SMEs will be enhanced to achieve 41 per cent SME contributions towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020,” he said.
He also said that multinational companies in Malaysia should share and contribute their expertise and resources to help local SMEs to grow, develop and sustain their businesses.
He also stressed the importance for SMEs in Sarawak to be a part of the economic development of Malaysia and receive the benefits from the various programmes and plans implemented by the government.
“There are countless assistance for SMEs provided by government agencies like SME Corp, SME Bank, Teraju, Tekun, MIDF and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia. The assistance will continue to ensure the growth of SMEs in Sarawak,” he said.
The government, Mustapha assured, was sensitive of the challenges faced by Sarawak such as the higher cost to do business, shortage of business premises and the difficulty to get funding.
“We will find a way to make the application and distribution of fund more transparent. I understand that there could be duplication in the process. There are those getting various funds while others are not approved due to various reasons.”
To ensure that SMEs in Sarawak continue to progress, the ministry would create an integrated registration centre to ease applications of various assistance and licensing matters.
“It will include a commercialisation technology platform to provide comprehensive assistance as well as Going Export Programme to help emerging and new SMEs market their products overseas,” he said.
He thus urged SMEs and industries to grab the advantages and opportunities present in the huge Asean Economic Community (AEC) market with over 600 million people and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).