By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, June 26: Local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must be bold to explore high-tech and high value-added ventures to create a business landscape that is innovative, creative and sustainable.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said SMEs must focus on the future and stop relying on low cost, low tech and labour-intensive strategies for their businesses.
With the state pursuing digital economy agenda and Industry 4.0, he said it was important for SMEs to embrace the digital economy in order to be competitive.
“Sarawak has a relatively small market, at 2.8 million population despite being the largest state in Malaysia. Therefore, going regional and global are necessary to ensure the long term sustainability of the business.
“It is timely for Sarawak SMEs to spread their wings and tap into a bigger customer base through e-commerce and digital platforms,” he said in his keynote address at the Sarawak Domestic Investment Seminar here today.
The event was organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) in collaboration with the state Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Ministry (MIED). It attracted over 200 participants from across the state, including government agencies, manufacturers, service providers and potential investors.
Awang Tengah, who is also Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister, added that the state government had set up Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to spearhead the state digital economy initiatives as well as setting aside RM1 billion to upgrade telecommunication infrastructure.
His ministry and other agencies have also organised a series of awareness programmes on Industry 4.0. In addition, the state government is building quality infrastructure to establish good connectivity as well as to stimulate economic growth in the rural regions.
Apart from the RM16.48 billion funded by the federal government for the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway, the state government is allocating RM5 billion to upgrade the Coastal Road and bridges, RM6 billion for the Second Trunk Road and RM2.8 billion for water supply.
A further RM2.37 billion has been allocated for Rural Electrification Scheme and RM1.5 billion each for the Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA) and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA).
Towards this goal, the state government together with its federal counterpart, through various agencies such as Mida, Matrade (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation), SME Corp, MIED, MiTEC (Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre) and others are committed to assisting and facilitating SMEs.
This is to help them grow and become global players through the adoption of modern technologies, creativity and innovation.
“There are many outreach programmes and facilities to assist SMEs, not only in capacity building but financial assistance as well, through grants and loans. This includes programmes to assist SMEs to go global in marketing their products and services,” Awang Tengah said.
The government are now making efforts to ensure the readiness of the local industry players in enhancing and sustaining their competitiveness amid intense competition in the globalised world coming from developed economies and developing countries.
Mida deputy chief executive officer Arham Abdul Rahman was also present at the seminar. — DayakDaily