PETALING JAYA: Budget 2017 may see small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) receiving further incentives, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
“We had consultations and there are also expectations from the SMEs. But wait for the announcement.
“I am sure the Government will come up with incentives to spur or stimulate more economic activities for the SMEs,” he told reporters after his speech at The Star SMEBiz Think Tank Seminar 2016 here yesterday.
In his speech, Dr Wee said the country’s SME growth rate has been beating the broader GDP growth with an average annual growth rate of 7.1% versus 4.9% of the GDP in the 2005-2014 period.
“SMEs are important economic agents for Malaysia based on their GDP contribution of 35.9% last year, which was above the standard benchmark for a developing nation status for SMEs,” he said.
Dr Wee added that the Government would continue to support SMEs as these companies make up more than 98% of all businesses in the country.
He also highlighted that support has been forthcoming before, with the more than 70 agencies and ministries looking into matters related to SMEs.
At the same press conference, Dr Wee said he believed there might not be many changes in US trade policies even after a new president is elected into office.
“The history of America shows that the government policy there is consistent, irrespective of the president. (But) whether the new president will change things is beyond our control,” he added.
To a question on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Dr Wee said that considering so much effort and time were put to seal the agreement, it might not be entirely scrapped.
“It may be too premature to say anything much now,” he added.
Both US presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – have said they were not in favour of the TPPA.
Dr Wee said the TPPA had many benefits in terms of opening up new markets for SMEs, and that change would eventually come with or without the agreement.
“The garment industry was termed the sunset industry. But after the TPPA, there will be opportunities for SMEs in that sector to expand their business further,” he added.
On a separate matter, Dr Wee said Barisan Nasional had reached a consensus in its opposition to the redelineation exercise and would present its objections to the Election Commission (EC) by Oct 14.
“We’ve discussed among Barisan parties and there are principles we have outlined and we have to be consistent on this,” he said when asked on MCA’s plan for a counter-proposal to the EC’s exercise.
The EC’s proposal to alter the electoral boundaries of 113 parliamentary seats in the peninsula has drawn wide criticism for creating fewer mixed seats and reinforcing mono-ethnic ones.
MCA has also argued that the move would affect 26 of the 40 parliamentary seats it intends to contest in the next general election.