Honouring achievements of Hokkien community

The King and Queen (centre) with (from left, seated) Bai Tian, Lim and Azmin with leaders from local businesses at the Hokkien Entrepreneurship Award 2019 in Wisma Huazong, Seri Kembangan.

THE Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah graced the Malaysian Hokkien Entrepreneurship Award 2019 in Seri Kembangan, Selangor.

The event at Wisma Huazong was attended by more than 1,000 Hokkien community members and leaders.

Also present were Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Federation of Hokkien Associations of Malaysia president Tan Sri Lim Hock San, China ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian and other distinguished guests.

Lim said he was honoured by the presence of the King and Queen to the first-ever awards ceremony to give recognition to the outstanding entrepreneurship achievements among the Malaysian Hokkien community.

He added that the Hokkien Associations of Malaysia was established in 1957 to represent the Hokkien ethnic group in the country.

Hokkien people make up half of the seven million Chinese community in Malaysia.

The associations have 211 branches and 500,000 members from all over the country, including Sabah and Sarawak.

The main objective of the associations is to strengthen the bond within the Hokkien ethnic group as well as inculcate Hokkien values and culture among the next generation.

As an established NGO, the associations will continuously support government policies that benefit the people.

“As Malaysians, we acknowledge and uphold the advice of His Majesty that we will stick together for our beloved country. We are in the same boat and heading towards the same direction, ” Lim said in his speech.

Azmin said although Malaysia was facing global economic uncertainty, the country’s economic performance for the second quarter of 2019 saw a steady growth of 4.9%.

He also stated that Malaysia was moving towards economic complexity and the landscape had changed from commodity-based and agricultural to a diversified economy encompassing manufacturing, services and high-tech industries.

“In this context, we cannot underrate the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their contribution to the national economy, ” he said.

In 2015, there were 900,000 SMEs in operation representing 98.5% of all companies in Malaysia.

SMEs contributed 65.3% of employment in 2016 and 66% in 2017.

In 2018, the GDP of SMEs showed a stable growth of 6.2% over Malaysia’s GDP growth of 4.7%.

They contributed 38.3% or RM521.7bil to the national economy.

Thus, the Government will continuously support the transformation process of SMEs in using new technologies such as digital automation, robotics, big data and the Internet of Things to meet the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Azmin said.

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