Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary general Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong said that in manufacturing, an SME is an enterprise with not more than 150 full-time employees or an annual sales turnover not exceeding RM25 million.
Speaking at the public seminar on “Making the Best of What We Have’ organised by Penang Gerakan Industry Development Bureau at the WOU main campus, he said the current global meltdown is worse than the mid-90s Asian financial crisis since it affects the entire economy and not just the financial and banking institutions.
“The crisis affects exporting economies like Malaysia which are dependant on the export of its manufactured products. Our three main importing partners are the US, European Union and Japan, which take up 40% of our exports.”
He declared that foreign direct investments have shrunk as developed countries need to survive themselves before they can consider investing in Malaysia. He asked, “Is our environment attractive to draw them here? Our labour is not that cheap, there are not enough skilled workers, and the government must be co-operative.”
Soong said the federal government has introduced the economic stimulus packages to stimulate growth, with a focus on human resources development to make workers “more productive, effective and innovative”. The government has also abolished policies not conducive for investment, such as the 30% bumiputra equity and requiring approval from the foreign investment committee, he added.
The half-day seminar aimed to create public awareness on the federal government’s first and second economic stimulus packages to help business communities and industries weather the current global economic crisis.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) vice president Dato’ Dr Ir Andy Seo Kian Haw spoke on how to speed up delivery of financial support from the government departments, while organisation development expert Kam Lian Hooi explained how to make the best out of the support provided by the government and the private sector. The talk was earlier officiated by State Gerakan chairman Dato’ Dr Teng Hock Nan.
About 100 people attended the talk, including State Gerakan Wanita chief Ng Siew Lai and representatives from industries and the business community.