Finance minister Lim Guan Eng says the government is providing Malaysian SMEs incentives to participate in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and in e-commerce in general. NST picture by SAIRIEN NAFIS.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will remain committed to fair trade, freedom of information and the rule of law (with mutual benefits) including respecting intellectual property rights that forms part of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said it was only through the aforementioned values that the government can ensure a stable environment for trade and e-commerce to thrive.

“We are building on the foundation Tun Dr Mahathir laid down by enhancing the existing International Integrated Logistics Services (IILS) to cater for digital trade facilitation.

“The Digital IILS status will allow relevant internet-based entities to provide door-to-door logistics services in Malaysia, creating an integrated online-to-offline regulatory framework to encourage e-commerce,” he told reporters after launching the Alibaba Group’s national office, here, today.

Alibaba Group has today opened its first electronic world trade platform (eWTP) hub outside of China, deepening its strategic collaboration with Malaysia to bolster the technology capability of Malaysian SMEs and young entrepreneurs.

Lim said Alibaba would enjoy various incentives and rights, citing that the complex received the MSC status, the brainchild of the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Alibaba's subsidiary, Alibaba Commerce Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, has been granted the Digital IILS status on October 13, 2017.

“All this is meant to leverage new opportunities for Malaysian small medium enterprises (SMEs) by encouraging them to hop on Alibaba's efficient global order fulfilment infrastructure, so that it would be easier for them to cater both domestic and global demand,” he added.

Lim said the government is providing Malaysian SMEs incentives to participate in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) and in e-commerce in general.

“Under the eTrade programme, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) provides a RM5,000 grant to qualifying Malaysian SMEs which are participating in e-commerce ventures.

“Half of that is meant to help pay for listing fee on any e-marketplace, including on Alibaba, and the other half for various expenses related to e-commerce,” he said.

MATRADE's e-Dagang initiative has also allocated RM50 million over the next three years to encourage Bumiputra businesses to join the DFTZ.

Lim said China-Malaysia relations is based on mutual respect and brought benefits that augured well for the governments, businesses and its people.

“I welcome Alibaba's continued commitment to Malaysia and I appreciate its eagerness to work with the new federal government to help spur new investments, create new jobs and economic opportunities for Malaysians,” he said.

He said Malaysians look forward to the opportunities to Malaysian SMEs following the launch of the first eWTP outside China, which took place in KL in November 2017.

“We are confident that the eWTP together with DFTZ will encourage more Malaysian SMEs to participate in ecommerce and increase their exports to other countries in Asia and beyond,” he said.

Lim said the collaboration between Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and Cainiao, the logistics arm of Alibaba, to form Cainiao - KLIA Aeropolis Sdn Bhd will increase the cargo volume at KLIA significantly.

“More importantly, this forms the larger strategy of making Malaysia the e-commerce and logistics hub in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Lim added the Malaysian government is committed to transparency and efficiency, demanding quality growth based on the principles of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT).

With the emergence of the digital revolution, he said there was a huge potential in the creative technology industry.

“Malaysia must embrace this new future of digital technology, especially in the growing fields of Big Data Analytics (BDA), cloud computing, robotics, cyber-security, Artificial Intelligence, fintech and Internet of Things (IoT),” he said.