KUALA LUMPUR: The usage of Malaysian manufactured products should be promoted as a measure to increase local sales and consumption.
This comes on the heels of the local sales indicator in the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM)-Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (Mier) Business Conditions Survey recording its lowest level, falling 12 points to 87, for the second half of 2016 as well as the first half of 2017.
In support of that, FMM president Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said manufacturers should ensure their products remained competitive, in terms of pricing, quality and delivery.
“When our locally-made products are rightly priced and on par with international standards of quality, it is not sensible for investors or project managers here to use imported products.
“Hence, for the manufacturing industry to become a more efficient one, there should be a mindset of striving for cost efficiency and high-quality products.
“Foreign investors who have projects in Malaysia will then use more of our ‘Made in Malaysia’ products, which will in turn increase domestic consumption,” he said at a briefing.
Lim added that FMM was seeking the Government’s support to advocate the purchase of Malaysian goods.
For instance, there could be conditions set out in Government projects to state that products used must be sourced locally.
Another survey finding that was of concern was the escalated cost of production, which saw its index rising from 154 in the first half of 2016 to 167 in the second half.
The higher cost of production was attributed to the minimum wage policy, transportation and energy cost, as well as the implementation of the goods and services tax.
Lim said local manufacturers should continuously improve their operations by implementing the Internet of Things, computerisation and automation to be able to compete on both the international and local levels.
Going forward, exports are expected to remain steady and perform better than local sales in the first half of 2017.
The expected export sales index is 111, of which 35% and 41% of respondents projected higher and stable sales, respectively, for the period.
The FMM-Mier Business Conditions Survey for the second half of 2016 received a total of 370 responses.
Index values ranged from 0 to 200 points, whereby a value above the growth-neutral threshold level of 100 points indicates an improvement or positive outlook, while that below the threshold indicates a worsening or negative outlook.