KUCHING: Business entities from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up 98% of most businesses in Malaysia.
“By 2020, we target SMEs will contribute from 33% to 41% in terms of the nation’s gross domestic product,” said Sarawak Resource Planning and Environment Minister II Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who launched the Matrade Export Day Sarawak 2016 on behalf of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Tuesday.
Matrade Export Day Sarawak 2016 aims to boost awareness on export and encourage the Sarawak business community to deepen their engagement with Matrade in the effort to become global champions.
“The Sarawak market is small and if businesses including SMEs want to grow, they will have to look not just within the country but globally as well.
“What is important is that we have to increase the quality of products and standards if we want to market the products globally like the food industry,” he said.
Also the Public Utilities Minister and Industrial Development Minister said SMEs have the potential to grow further.
“The layer cakes, which are famous here, can be marketed overseas but quality, packaging has to be maintained.
“Businesses should take advantage of opportunities given to them as the government has given not just financial help but promotional opportunities to sell their products,” he said.
“This programme by Matrade will help many businesses to become Sarawak exporters,” said Malaysia External Trade and Development Corporation (Matrade) chief executive officer Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud at the press conference.
“Currently, exports from Sarawak are mainly commodities such as natural gas and palm oil but we can see that Sarawak is expanding to more value added exports.
“Even in fashion, shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo uses design motives and materials from Sarawak,” he said.
He added that if the programme can increase the amount of exporters in Sarawak, this will ultimately contribute to higher employment opportunities and the expansion of the local industry.
According to Matrade, there are more than 320 companies from Sarawak across various industries such as automotive, machineries and appliances, palm oil products, building materials, shipbuilding, handcrafted products, food and beverages that are registered with Matrade Sarawak.
He urged businesses to register with Matrade as the numbers are still very low due to the lack of awareness by the business community.
“I expect to see an increase of 10% of businesses registered this year,” he said.
The programme line-up includes talks on the global economic outlook, the role of e-Commerce in international trade, trade talks on Matrade’s extensive range of exporters development programmes and success stories shared by successful businesses.