KUALA LUMPUR: Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia (Asean-BAC Malaysia) held a dialogue session today with Sarawak SMEs in Kuching.
Its chairman Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, who made a presentation and led the discussion said businesses in the country away from the major commercial centres in Malaysia are less aware of Asean.
"Its economic size and potential have to be brought to their business consciousness.
“But even as we do so, time and again, what arises are the more immediate problems of local survival and growth. Asean yes, but first can you look into these matters for us, such as the challenge of access to finance, of new technologies and digital companies, of size to make a difference, they say,” Munir said in a statement.
During the dialogue, which was attended by about 70 participants, including representatives in Sarawak of SME Corporation, MITI, Matrade and from the State Economic Planning Unit, a lively discussion followed on the future of business in Sarawak in an environment of technological change but also from the development of the new Indonesian capital in Kalimantan and of Indonesia in general.
The issue of many existing institutions not engaging and providing sufficient information to business enterprises was raised, as well as that of existing regional arrangements such as BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area) not really being actively driven ahead.
The director of SME Corp Sarawak, Tuan Haji Ismail Hashim made a substantial presentation on SME Corp. and the 177 programmes it has pursued in 2019 with a spend of RM13.8bil.
It was clear there are many opportunities for financing not sufficiently known or taken up by SMEs.