‘Malaysian fare has its own flair’

Homegrown: Entrepreneurs note that better awareness of the quality of local goods and services is needed.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian-made products can rival the goods manufactured overseas in both quality and price, say local manufacturers and businesses.

Industry players said that locally manufactured rubber, furniture, and electrical products were highquality and competitively priced.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai noted that what still needed to be fixed was the perception of some Malaysians towards locally made products. Soh said that FMM was in full support of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s call for Malaysians to “buy Malaysian for Malaysia”.

“Malaysia is a trading nation – our export stands at more than RM800bil last year. If we are able to export this amount, it shows that Malaysian-made products meet international standards,” said Soh.

He said that Malaysia supplied more than 65% of the rubber gloves in the international market.

“We also make good furniture products, such as beds, dining tables and chairs,” he said, adding that a well-known international furniture firm also sold Malaysian-made furniture under its brand – a testament to the high quality of Malaysian-made products.

He said that the “buy Malaysian for Malaysia” call by Muhyiddin would help Malaysian businesses to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, which resulted in the movement control order (MCO).

“We believe it will intensify patriotism among Malaysians for Malaysian-made goods and services (and this will help) to assist Malaysian businesses at this critical juncture to get back on track amidst the Covid-19 recovery period,” he added.

Soh, however, noted that the government could also show its support for Malaysian-made products by pushing for its ministries and departments to go local in their procurement processes.

“If the government can direct

(its ministries and departments) to buy Malaysian-made products and buy from local companies, it can help boost the revenues for these companies,” he said.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said local brands should be promoted more to encourage Malaysians to buy them.

“Malaysia makes a lot of good products, such as furniture and halal-food products. The majority of them are good quality.

“The difference (between overseas-made products and local ones) is that we don’t have the branding.

“We need to make Malaysian brands more recognised internationally,” he said, citing consumer electrical appliances Khind as one of the local brands which was as good as international brands.

Echoing Soh’s view, Kang also said that the government could play its part by instructing ministries, departments, and agencies under it to purchase more locally made products.

“The government should (also) take other initiatives, especially government purchases.

“We should set at least a 70% target for buying Malaysian-made products by government agencies,” he added.

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