GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia’s small and medium enterprise (SME) segment, currently facing business challenges, should be factored into government strategies and recommendations when resolving issues relating to inflation and price hike controls.
SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) secretary-general Chin Chee Seong urged the Special Task Force on Jihad Against Inflation chaired by Tan Sri Annuar Musa to consider the SME sector as well when formulating action plans, as the workers and families of many businesses were also affected by the soaring cost of living.
He disclosed about 15 percent of SMEs, especially micro SMEs, were forced to close during the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lack of funds and the percentage was gradually increasing. “The surviving ones are battling higher borrowing costs from the rise in overnight policy rates this year, adding to existing problems of manpower shortage, rising cost of raw materials and the implementation of minimum wage rates.
“We appeal to the special task force to produce a framework quickly on tackling inflation in the country,” he added. Addressing the labour shortage issue, Chin who is also organising chairman of the Platinum Business Awards (PBA) 2022 stated that SME Malaysia hoped the relevant authorities would simplify the foreign worker application process and expedite approvals to support industry workforce requirements since SME productivity and business recovery had been hampered by the sustained lack of workers.
He was speaking at the PBA2022 Penang roadshow in Batu Kawan on July 14, the second leg of a series of roadshows featuring presentations by guest speakers and major sponsors scheduled for July 25 (Sabah), July 26 (Sarawak), July 29 (Klang), Aug 1 (Seremban) and Aug 2 (Johor Bharu). PBA2022 is a local awards platform with the theme “Resilience. Globalisation. Digitalisation” that benchmarks the business performance and quality standards of SMEs and individuals in 18 award categories by nomination and four categories by invitation.
Four new categories – SME Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Adoption Award, SME IR4.0 Adoption Award, SME Business Resilience Award and SME Sustainable Development Goals Excellence Award – have been introduced to highlight the growing importance of ESG, sustainability and IR4.0 to SMEs.
Award nominees undergo an assessment process which includes auditor site visits, culminating in the selection of winners by a selection board chaired by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific president Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, joined by other captains of industry.
PBA2022 is organised by SME Malaysia and audited by SFAI Malaysia with Fusionex as technology partner, Skynet Worldwide as official courier and OE Edutech as official strategic partner. Major event sponsors are Hong Leong Bank (HLB), Boost Biz, Maxis and RHB Bank while co-sponsors are AmLeisure Group, Ipay 88, SBH and RAM.
According to HLB Head of SME Banking Kevin Ng, “As the backbone of the country’s economy, SMEs play a vital role in setting the pace at which the market recovers. Beyond financing to support their recovery and growth, our clients are looking for more business advisory support to restructure their operations for profitability in this challenging time as well as advising them on how to transition to new and more sustainable business models. We look forward to meeting the SMEs community across the country at the roadshows where we can listen to their needs and aspirations and work with them on how best we can assist them in their journey”.
PBA2022 is open for online nominations until Aug 31. Details are available at https://pba.smemalaysia.org/ and through the awards secretariat at Tel: 03-8024 5787 (Cynthia).