KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprise (SME) operators should go for private investments instead of relying on government loans, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said more private investors were showing interest in spearheading and spurring the growth of promising companies, and that the SMEs could draw them in with an innovative business plan.
“You must upgrade and be the best salesperson of your product, service and company to seek the attention of the venture capital firms and angel funders.
“Loans are not the best solution to your needs as a business entity,” he said.
Towards this end, Dr Wee said the Secretariat for the Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME) – a one-stop centre to assist SMEs – had built up a network of partners to provide alternative funding in the form of venture capital, angel funding and equity crowdfunding to the SMEs.
“Since last year, the secretariat has helped 16 companies secure RM153.8mil in alternative funding instead of loans,” he told more than 1,000 participants at a SAME financial roadshow organised by the Federation of Malaysia Chinese Guilds Association at Wisma MCA here yesterday.
In an update on the SME entrepreneur fund set aside for Chinese businessmen by the Government, Dr Wee said RM54.3mil had been disbursed to 271 SMEs via Kojadi, an investment arm of MCA which has managed the fund since last year.
Most of the recipients were from the general commerce sector, followed by business services and professionals, building and construction, food and beverage as well as printing and publishing.
The fund started with RM50mil in 2015 but was granted another RM50mil this year after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was pleased with the record of zero non-performing loans.
“As long as we are in the Government, we will ensure that this fund continues to perform well. Hopefully, we can add on to the current RM100mil so more SMEs can benefit from it,” said Dr Wee.
He also urged SMEs to engage in merger and acquisition (M&A) deals as a way to become stronger and more competitive in the market.
Last year, there were 331 M&A deals worth US$8.87bil (RM36bil), 55% more than in 2014 with 214 deals.
So far, SAME has helped more than 10,000 companies through its programmes nationwide.
Dr Wee also launched the QR code for SAME at the event.
Later in Segamat, Dr Wee said community leaders in Chinese new villages with a good service record stand a chance of being fielded as a candidate in the next general election.
The MCA deputy president said although it was still early to talk about candidacy, community leaders should continue to perform to increase their chances of being chosen.
“Do not think that you are not in the running to be picked as a candidate.
“If you have done a good job and serve the people well, it will definitely increase your chances,” he said during a swearing-in ceremony and lunch with 123 Chinese new village community leaders for the 2016-2017 session in Kampung Abdullah here yesterday.
Dr Wee said community leaders should work closely with their respective divisions to ensure that the people’s voices were heard and their needs properly addressed.
In a related development, Dr Wee said he would bring up the matter of the allowance of community leaders to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
He said they hoped to be given an allowance of RM1,000 each instead of RM800 as their tasks were similar to Malay village chiefs.
“The allowance is to aid the Village Security and Welfare Committee (JKKK) chairmen in carrying out their tasks and responsibilities,” he added.
On the RM60mil allocated for Chinese new villages nationwide this year, Dr Wee said it would be fully utilised for infrastructure and upgrading projects.
To date, a total of 540 projects worth RM42.3mil have been approved for construction works such as repairing of roads and drains, upgrading community halls and sports facilities, as well as recreational and landscaping works.