The Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA), has highlighted the significance of the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysian Plan for SMEs and expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcements regarding improvements to the 12MP.
In his statement, Datuk William Ng, the national president of SAMENTA, acknowledged the government’s accurate assessment of the highly disrupted global economy.
Towards this end, he emphasised the need for a “course correction” in the economy and industries, advocating for a dual approach of attracting foreign investments while also promoting domestic investments and enhancing productivity locally.
Ng noted SAMENTA’s collaboration with the Malaysia Productivity Corporation over the past three years. He stressed their joint efforts to promote automation and digital adoption among SMEs, as well as to reshape SME mindsets to prioritise labour productivity, profitability, and competitiveness.
This transformation aligns with the goals of Ekonomi MADANI and the revised 12MP to help SMEs ascend the value chain.
Ng also commended the government’s focus on high-growth, high-value industries, anticipating positive effects on SMEs as these sectors expand. He highlighted the potential benefits for SMEs participating in an enlarged supply chain.
While recognising the government’s attention to start-ups, Ng suggested that some of the funds and interventions could yield better results if directed toward high-growth, high-impact SMEs. He proposed facilitating export-ready SMEs through market-linkage and branding support.
He also encouraged venture funds and GLCs to co-finance SMEs in merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, fostering regional and global competitiveness. Established SMEs, being less risky investments with stronger global supply chain presence, could be a more strategic focus than start-ups.
Meanwhile, Ng raised concerns about past facilitation efforts benefiting regional neighbours, calling for a shift in focus toward transforming Malaysian SMEs into unicorns and quasi-unicorns like MyNews, Top Glove, Inari, and Vitrox, all of which started as SMEs.
He also applauded the government’s plan to support the creative industry and design-led SMEs, suggesting the consideration of a matching grant for packaging design and branding to help SMEs evolve from OEMs to brand owners while supporting the creative industry.
Ng reiterated SAMENTA’s commitment to assisting Malaysia’s 1.2 million SMEs in advancing up the value chain, rapidly digitalising, and becoming more productive and competitive.