Government wants more bumis in furniture venture

Interesting product: Wee inspecting some of the items on display at a booth after the award ceremony at a hotel in Putrajaya.

PUTRAJAYA: Bumiputras keen on the furniture business should sign up for a programme to be trained by successful companies in the timber and furniture sector, says the Deputy Primary Industries and Commodities Minister.

Referring to the VenTureS and Smart-Partnership programme by the ministry, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng said interested entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to branch out as a furniture manufacturer after the training.

“Entrepreneurs under training will have a chance to start their business as a furniture vendor/subcontractor, not just for the local but also the international market.

“I urge youths to join this programme so they can develop themselves to become successful entrepreneurs, ” he told reporters after attending an awards ceremony at a hotel here involving 20 bumiputra entrepreneurs who completed the training sessions under the programme.

Wee said at present, there were 22 new bumiputra entrepreneurs and 10 new strategic partners involved in the VenTureS and Smart-Partnership programme.

Wee, who also witnessed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing for the Smart Partnership programme between the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), strategic partners Promptcon Enterprise Sdn Bhd and Pusan Furniture Industries (M) Sdn Bhd, and two new bumiputra entrepreneurs, said the government aimed to produce 600 bumiputra entrepreneurs by 2025 through the programme, which also includes providing eligible entrepreneurs with loans and incentives, aside from training.

He said bumiputra participation in the timber and furniture industry was low, with 471 such entrepreneurs at the moment.

He said their contribution based on the value of export and furniture was estimated at less than 1%.

“On this matter, the agenda to strengthen bumiputra participation will be our main mission and the government is always proactive in strengthening the position of entrepreneurs so they can compete in the international market, ” he said.

Wee also explained that the initiatives would include a programme to increase the production capacity of timber factories owned by bumiputra entrepreneurs.

Under this programme, he said high-technology machines would be loaned to eligible bumiputra entrepreneurs to increase their productivity and capacity.

He added that easy loans would be provided under the raw material support programme to assist bumiputra entrepreneurs acquire loans to purchase raw material.

Wee also said MTIB had implemented the Credible Entrepreneur, Marketing and Promotion programme to guide bumiputra entrepreneurs to produce items for the export market.

“Under this programme, three entrepreneurs have successfully produced furniture of their own brand for the export market, ” he added.

He said the ministry, through MTIB, would continue to implement various programmes to ensure that bumiputra entrepreneurs were more competitive in the global market.

“The programmes must ensure that they become independent and compete in the open market, ” he added.

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