Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani says the government had declared 2017 as the Year of Internet Economy for Malaysia, and urged companies to innovate in the face of technological challenges, globalisation and urbanisation. Pix by AIZUDDIN SAAD.

KUALA LUMPUR: Companies must innovate, whether they like it or not, in the face of technological challenges, globalisation and urbanisation, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said.

He cited business innovations like Uber, Skype, Spotify and Alibaba which were growing globally as a result of economic development.

"This indirectly makes digital technology through mobile devices, social networks and cloud computing, as well as other technologies, change business and customers relationship," he said.

Speaking at the Malay Traders and Entrepreneurs Association of Malaysia (Perdasama) annual general meeting here Saturday, Johari said the government had declared 2017 as the Year of Internet Economy for Malaysia.

"This should be fully capitalised on and explored by local entrepreneurs to make Internet usage a new market opportunity, to generate more profit and to cut cost," he said.

He said under Budget 2017, the government had proposed an allocation of RM162 million to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation to implement digital programmes such as e-commerce ecosystem and the Digital Maker Movement.

The government is also providing RM1 billion to make fixed broadband service more competitive and broaden its coverage and upgrade its quality up to 200 megabits per second (Mbps) nationwide.

Johari asserted the need for drastic measures and cooperation among all parties to boost Bumiputera entrepreneurial participation and take their companies from the micro level to a higher level, up to the international market.

He said statistics showed that Bumiputera's participation in the small and medium enterprise sector was still low, hovering at 37.5 per cent, mostly at the micro level at 90.7 per cent.

"In terms of halal certification, Bumiputera companies accounted for only 39.5 per cent, while non-Bumiputera companies, 60.5 per cent," he said.

In terms of export value, he said Bumiputera companies accounted for only 14 per cent, while the rest were made up by non-Bumiputera companies. -- BERNAMA