DIGITISATION AND MECHANISATION
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitalisation is key for SMEs to future-proof their businesses and to remain competitive in any situation.
Mr Chin of the SME Association told CNA that they hoped the government would extend the Industry4wrd Intervention fund, a financial support facility for SMEs to embrace digitalisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“The fund is supposed to spread over five years but currently it has been fully utilised. There are many companies, especially SMEs who have not benefitted and would like to go digital and embark on Industry 4.0,” he said, adding that the approval process could also be simplified.
He also hoped that the government would provide subsidies for SMEs that subscribe to plans with Internet connections of more than 100mbps.
“SMEs are utilising more Internet connectivity in their businesses but Internet charges for Internet speed of more than 100 Mpbs are relatively high,” he said.
In 2019, SMEs contributed 38.9 per cent to overall gross domestic product (GDP), 48.4 per cent to total employment and 17.9 per cent to total exports.
The Federation of Malaysian Business Association (FMBA) told CNA that it is hoping for a special fund to support the mechanisation of farming.
This is to encourage farming of food or animal feed input by the existing small-scale farmers, unemployed or those who are interested in farming, its president Malik Ali said.
MPOA’s Mr Tek added that in a bid to mechanise the industry, the association proposed that the government grants tax relief on selected heavy machinery and equipment that are used in the plantation sector for a specified period.
BOOST FOREIGN TOURIST RECEIPTS
Malaysian Tourism Council president Uzaidi Udanis said the key to the tourism sector’s recovery is promotion of the country.
“In general, we need more aggressive promotion and this requires a bigger allocation of funds. Even social media is not free. If the promotion is not aggressive, there is a risk of us being left out especially as there is a competitive market in ASEAN and other new markets such as Saudi Arabia,” he told CNA.
He said that the tourism in the country has improved since the reopening of the borders in April, but it could improve further.
He said that while tourist arrivals were higher than Thailand during the first six months of the year, Thailand has since upped their game and is very aggressive to pull tourists into the country.