PETALING JAYA: The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is targeted to exceed 50% in 2030, says Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof.
“It is a tall order and a big challenge. I have said it many times that we need to focus on the low-hanging fruit,” he told reporters on the sidelines of his talk on “Fostering the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The roles of Government” organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli) yesterday.
SME contribution to Malaysia’s GDP was about 37% in 2017, he added.
Mohd Redzuan encouraged the SME sector to look into digitalisation and grab the opportunities in the growing halal industry globally.
“The halal industry is huge and is growing very fast. It is not only about the slaughtering but the processes throughout the value chain,” he said.
The global halal market size is expected to reach US$9.71 trillion by 2025, according to a study by Adroit Market Research.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 (NEP 2030), which outlines seven core thrusts, including generating new growth sectors, improving the labour market, and enhancing social well-being and social capital.
Mohd Redzuan said Malaysia is ranked 58th on the Global Entrepreneurship Development Index, despite having various entrepreneurship programmes in various ministries.
“It all comes down to implementation. We have more than 60 entrepreneur development organisations, 38 policies, blueprints, action plans and roadmaps related to entrepreneurship, and more than 150 entrepreneur development programmes.
“We spend billions of ringgit on entrepreneur development initiatives,” he stressed.
He pointed out that NEP 2030 would be the “nucleus” to streamline the government’s initiatives and enhance coordination to realise a better ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Asli chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah said to be a successful entrepreneur, one must sharpen one’s skills and mindset.
“Based on my own experience, I believe that ultimately, the other two important factors are character and luck.
“It is often said that character is destiny, and our characters shape our values. Integrity and humility, for me, are the two predominant values that helped in my success,” he said during his keynote speech.
Cheah is also the founder and chairman of Sunway Bhd.
Mohd Redzuan said among the key issues faced by SMEs are rapid technology growth that is difficult for SMEs to catch up with, mismatch in human capital, access to financing, economic scale and the regulatory environment.
On Bank Negara’s move to relax the lending guidelines for SMEs, he said the measure was a “good move”, as it would have a positive impact on the ecosystem.
“Bank Negara’s move to ease lending requirements for SMEs, which are the backbone of the economy, shows support from the government,” he said.
He said SMEs accounted for 98.5% of business entities in Malaysia.
The sector contributed 37.1% to the country’s gross domestic product in 2017 and accounted for 66% of the workforce and 17.3% of exports.