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Mustapa Urges Local SMEs To Take Advantage Of ASEAN SME Showcase & Conference

[ 12-03-2015 ]
Mustapa Urges Local SMEs To Take Advantage Of ASEAN SME Showcase & Conference
KOTA BAHARU, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The ASEAN SME Showcase and Conference in Kuala Lumpur from May 26-28 is the best platform for small medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) to explore regional opportunities following the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the event will also expose local SMEs to the success of other Malaysian companies that have successfully penetrated the ASEAN market.

"This is to ensure the SMEs can expand overseas and enhance our trade and investments," he added.

He told reporters this after a dialogue on the AEC at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) Kota Campus here Friday and held in conjunction with the 21st Asean Economic Ministers' Retreat.

Also present was UMK Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mortaza Mohamed and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) Chief Operating Officer Isham Ishak.

The Asean Economic Ministers' Retreat, themed, "Our People, Our Community and Our Vision", is binge held over three days from today.

Mustapa said the SME Showcse and Conference is line with ASEAN's agenda to develop the sector in member countries.

Meanwhile, Isham said the SMEs should not consider the AEC a threat, but as a step towards penetrating the wider regional market.

"This is because ASEAN, with a population of 620 million, is the third largest global market after China and India, with a strong growth of 5.4 per cent compared to the global economy's 3.4 per cent.

"To strengthen the local SME's, a total of RM13.3 billion was last year allocated by the government and the private sector to undertake 154 programmes towards empowering them.

"Of this sum, funding of RM7 billion was from the government for 133 programmes, while the private sector contributed RM6.4 billion for 21 programmes," he added.

He said the programmes focused on five areas, namely, access to funding with 42 programmes undertaken at a cost of RM12.7 billion, technology and innovation (25 programmes, RM292.9 million), infrastructure (14 programmes, RM208.8 million), development of human capital (43 programmes, RM95.2 million) and market access (30 programmes, RM89.5 million).

There are about 646,000 SMEs in Malaysia at present and comprising 97.3 per cent of the overall companies in the country.

The SMEs contributed 19 per cent to Malaysia's exports, 57 per cent towards employment and 33 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).