PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will highlight the role of the small and medium enterprises (SME) in spurring the growth of the region’s economy during the Asean summit in Kuala Lumpur next year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the networking of SMEs in the region and integrating Asean as a single market and production base for these businesses would be emphasised.
Malaysia will chair the summit, which will involve Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“In our effort to develop Asean as an economic community, as chair next year, we will give emphasis on the role of SMEs in Asean. Some 95% to 99% of the business establishments in Asean are SMEs by nature, so it is vital that we take advantage of Asean as a single platform,” Najib said after chairing the SME Development Council meeting.
On the national level, Najib said several high-impact initiatives will be implemented in the next few years to assist in the growth of local SMEs.
The SME sector currently contributes to 33.1% of the national economy but the Government has targeted to raise the SME contribution to 41% by 2020.
In order to achieve this goal, Najib said the annual growth for the SME contribution must be accelerated from 6.3% to 9.3%.
“This is a tall order, it’s a huge challenge. That’s why we are taking these initiatives (and) it has to be quite a massive effort on everybody’s part.
“If it is business as usual, it may not be possible to attain this target,” he said.