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you know that 54 percent of SMEs have reported substantially lower sales in 2020 as a result of the pandemic COVID-19 whilst only 30 percent of them have reported  an increase in sales mostly in certain sectors such as medical equipment, electronics, logistics and e-commerce?

These findings were conducted in a January survey titled ‘State of our SMEs’ by the  Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia or better known as SAMENTA.

“The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have created a havoc for most SMEs.  Sectors such as tourism, construction, events and retail were the hardest hit, with some experiencing business reduction by more than 70 percent. 

"However, there were also winners, especially those sectors that directly benefited from the lockdown as well as businesses that were able to pivot to other segments”, said Datuk William Ng (left) chairman of policy and government relations of SAMENTA Central at a press conference after attending the SAMENTA Central Installation ceremony held at One World Hotel recently. 

Accompanying him is the National Presiden of SAMENTA, Well Kam (middle) and pass Presiden, Dato Koay Chiew Guan  (right).

With the challenging economic climate and uncertainty over the vaccine rollout globally, SAMENTA calls for leniency in SOPs enforcement for SMEs who have just reopened their business after the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) so as their business could continue.

“Rather than imposing fines of RM10,0000 to RM50,000 straight away,  do give them a gentle approach or warnings so that they can improve on their internal SOPs.  Fines of such a big amount can cause small business to close shop  and collapse as they could not afford to pay them,” added Ng.

Giving due respect and fully supports the government’s intiative and effort to restore the economic growth, SAMENTA  welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement that the government may no longer need to implement the Movement Control Order (PKP) comprehensively covering the whole country or a state. 

“This indeed is very timely and helpful for the SMEs to plan ahead,” said Ng while extending his appreciation on the governments effort to help entreprenuers.

Among the initiatives introduced by the government, the SMEs found the wage subsidy programme to be the most helpful, with 70 percent benefitting from it. 

The various soft loans such as the Special Relief Fund were also critical in helping SMEs who were cash-strapped to tide through the lockdowns. 

As a result of these aids, and nimble actions by some SMEs, only 10 percent of all SMEs retrenched their employees in 2020 and only 7 percent anticipate further retrenchment in 2021. 

According to Ng, most SMEs (75 percent) rate business prospects in 2021 as either fair or bad. 61 percent of those surveyed expect a recovery only in the fourth quarter of 2021, while 28 percent expect a turnaround only in 2022. 

“This pessimism, despite the vaccine roll-out and a promise by the Prime Minister that there will not be any blanket MCO moving forward, is the result of policy uncertainties. 

While we have good intentions when it comes to the various policies – be it for economic recovery or to safeguard the health of Malaysians, the roll-out are often seen as ill-prepared, with SOPs only announced days or weeks after major policies are announced”, said Ng.

“We hope the government will continue doing the good job of engaging with the civil society before deciding on any policy. And more importantly, come to these engagement sessions with an open mind, rather than using these sessions as mere rubber stamps for their decisions”, added Ng.

The SAMENTA Central Installation ceremony ended with the introduction of it new committee members as follows:

DATIN Lorela Chia (above) and Melissa Chan  (below) receiving their Certificate from Well Kam.

For the record, SAMENTA, as the country’s oldest SME association, founded in 1986 will continue to be a voice for the small and medium enterprises and will speak without fear or favour on issues that affect the SMEs. 

Its mission is to champion the development of SMEs through a four-prong approach of policy consultation, market access, business amplification and capacity building.

“At the same time, we will continue to serve as bridge for agencies to reach out to the SMEs and provide timely feedback on issues affecting our SMEs”, Ng said while hoping for more new members to enroll and be a part of the existing 800 members through out Malaysia.

On another note, as a drive to call for new members, SAMENTA will be waiving its entrance fee of RM100  out of which only RM150 annual membership fees is chargeble for a period of six months until 22 September 2021.

“They can join and pay for 5 years direct but after 22 September 2021 the annual membership fees will return to normal which is RM100 for entrance fee plus RM150 for ordinary member,” said Well Kam hoping the membership drive will pull in more members to join SAMENTA.

For more information, do visit its website at or CLICK HERE

Kak Fas: First time heard of SAMENTA though its been formed 35 years ago in the island of Pulau Pinang. 

To be more exposed to pull in members of all races and ethnics SAMENTA should regularly organized promotional activities especially to the Malay and Indian communities who may not be aware of its existence. 

#SAMENTA #SMEs #MembershipDrive #COVID-19 #WilliamNg #WellKam

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