Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government is committed to continue helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the upcoming Budget 2021. He said this would be done via continued support for digitalisation and automation, building on the foundation laid by the various government economic stimulus packages. He added that the government would also facilitate the SMEs to accelerate the adoption of digitalisation under Budget 2021 that will be tabled the Parliament on November 6.

“Records have shown that crucial technological and digital migration have yet to hit critical mass among SMEs. “We need to raise awareness that with digitalisation, SMEs can have a bigger market reach and go regional, and how our financial institutions can support them in this process,” he said.

Under Budget 2021, Tengku Zafrul said the government would also guide SMEs towards business resilience and sustainability, as most SMEs adopted high-growth strategies in making decisions, and this left little room for them to respond effectively to economic shocks. “Businesses need to balance out their priorities to help themselves remain afloat regardless of the changing operating landscape, and the government is looking at how sustainability can be the foundational premise on which SME-centric measures are crafted,” he said.

Moving forward, he said despite a lack of visibility as to when a COVID-19 vaccine can be found and produced commercially, there are many factors that currently place Malaysia in a leading position to take advantage of the changing economic landscape. Firstly, Malaysia’s globally-recognised ability in controlling COVID-19, which makes it a strong point to market the country as the preferred destination for investments in this region, he said. “Secondly, our strategic location and trained human capital supports Malaysia as a good destination for businesses to relocate from China, in view of the Sino-United States trade tensions. “And thirdly, the leadership of our Islamic financing and halal economic ecosystem, which has placed the Credit Guarantee Corporation (CGC) and the financial institutions to have a more serious effort in innovating products and services by capitalising on the advantages mentioned above.

“This will certainly put the nation on a good footing for the next phase of our 6R strategy — Revitalise — to be represented by Budget 2021, and later Reform, underscored by measures in the 12th Malaysia Plan to be unveiled in January 2021,” he said.





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