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Malaysia's small business policies win international praise
MELBOURNE: Malaysia is in the forefront of small business development policies across the globe, says Ken Phillips, a leading international small business expert.
Phillips, the Chairman of Australia's peak small business organisation, the Council of Small Business Australia, has identified Malaysia as a world leader.
Criticising developed economies, Phillips said: "In comparison to Malaysia, small business policies in developed economies of Europe, North America and Australia frequently look like knee-jerk reactions to political imperatives rather than thought through economic policy."
In particular, Phillips highlighted the consistent leadership from the top of the government as being important to Malaysia's small business success.
He was impressed that Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak chairs Malaysia's National Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) Development Council.
"This leadership showed a level of sophistication to economic development (in this case in the small business sector) that is often hard to find in the so-called advanced economies," Phillips told Bernama on Monday.
Phillips is a leading small business authority particularly on self-employed and micro-business issues. He also heads Australia's Independent Contractors' Association and conducts global research and commentary on government policies towards the self-employed.
Along with contributions to international SME academic publications, his book entitled "Independence and the Death of Employment" is one of the few detailed publications on the self-employed.
Phillips comments followed a presentation by Datuk Hafsah Hashim, chief executive officer of SME Corporation Malaysia, at the peak of the global small business conference in Wellington, New Zealand, in mid-June.
The International Council for Small Business World Conference is an annual gathering of top academics, senior government officials and SME experts.
Hafsah's presentation detailed Malaysia's policy towards small business development and its integration into national economic advancement.
Phillips sees this as unique.
"What's most interesting about this Malaysian approach is that they see a direct connection between a high-income economy and the proliferation and strength of small business.
"I can't say that I've seen this sort of economic development analysis before and certainly not one translated into direct government policy and action.
"Within the orthodoxy of what constitutes most economic development policies, the Malaysians stand out as different and in front. What's almost unique is the degree of hard evidence based analysis driving their policies," Phillips said.
Phillips said Malaysia's policy success is apparent. "This is demonstrated by the fact that the growth of SME contribution to the Malaysian gross domestic product (GDP) since 2004 exceeds overall GDP growth.
"Looking forward, the fourth phase of Malaysia’s overall development agenda involves the creation of business ecosystems for SMEs. Small business development is intended to take Malaysia from a middle-income economy to an advanced and high-income economy by 2020.
"Malaysia is a country to watch," said Phillips, and one that "…can teach the developed economies a lot," he added. -- BERNAMA