DIGITALIZATION AND MECHANIZATION
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, digitization is critical for SMEs to future-proof their business and remain competitive in any situation.
Mr Chin of the SME Association told TUSEN that they hoped the government would expand the Industry4wrd Intervention Fund, a financial support facility for SMEs to embrace digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
“The fund should be spread over five years, but it is currently fully utilized. There are many companies, especially SMEs that have not benefited from it and want 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 to small and medium-sized enterprises that subscribe to an internet connection of more than 100 Mbps.
“SMEs are using more internet connectivity in their business, but internet costs for internet speeds above 100 Mpbs are relatively high,” he said.
In 2019, SMEs contributed 38.9 percent to total gross domestic product (GDP), 48.4 percent to total employment and 17.9 percent to total exports.
The Federation of Malaysian Business Association (FMBA) told TUSEN it hopes for a special fund to support agricultural mechanization.
This is intended to encourage the growing of food or fodder by the existing small-scale farmers, the unemployed or those interested in farming, President Malik Ali said.
MPOA’s Mr Tek added that in an effort to mechanize the industry, the association proposed that the government grant tax relief on selected heavy machinery and equipment used in the plantation sector for a certain period of time.
BOOST FOREIGN TOURIST REVENUES
Malaysian Tourism Council chairman Uzaidi Udanis said the key to the recovery of the tourism industry is the promotion of the country.
“Overall, we need more aggressive promotion and this requires a larger allocation of funds. Even social meslide is not free. If the promotion is not aggressive there is a risk that we will be locked out especially as there is a competitive market in ASEAN and other new markets like Saudi Arabia,” he told TUSEN.
He said tourism in the country has improved since the borders reopened in April, but could improve further.
He said that although tourist arrivals were higher than Thailand in the first six months of the year, Thailand has since stepped up their game and is very aggressive in drawing tourists into the country.