KUALA LUMPUR: More focus on enhancing efficiency and delivery of the government’s assistance to Bumiputeras would be among the highlights during the 2017 UMNO General Assembly, said International Trade and Industry minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said the government, led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, would also stress on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as empowering Bumiputera companies to export and be involved in the digital economy.
“In my view, there is no other government in the world that gives so much emphasis on the economic upliftment of the indigenous people compared to ours.
“This is evidenced from the setting up of agencies such as Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund among others, which are meant to boost Bumiputera participation in the economy,” he told Bernama at the assembly here today.
The Jeli MP, who is also fondly known as ‘Tok Pa’, also said that more importantly, the government was committed to ensure the well-being of those who were less privileged through inclusive policies such 1Malaysia People’s Aid and InfraRakyat projects.
“We will also continue to develop the capacity of our SMEs, in line with our vision to bring them to the international stage and be part of the digital economy.
“It is our hope that the Digital Free Trade Zone will be an impetus in bringing more SMEs, including Bumiputeras, into the e-commerce business.
“Malaysia cannot afford to be oblivious to the rapidly-changing landscape around us including the Industry 4.0 and the digital economy,” he said.
He said the country needed to boost the adoption of Industry 4.0 across firms including the SMEs.
“As we approach 2020, we need to and will do more in closing the gap in income and the different levels of development across the states.
“It is important for the government to increase its allocation to the lagging states so that we could bring them on par with others,” he said.
On the gender equality, Mustapa said, the government has done well in achieving a more equal women representation at universities and workplace.
The latest announcement by the prime minister to increase the quota for women senators in the Dewan Negara to 30 per cent (from the current 19.35 per cent) was something that should be welcomed in the context of further strengthening of the women empowerment agenda, he said.
“Currently, there are close to 187,000 women-owned businesses, which constitute about 20.6 per cent of SMEs in Malaysia. A large portion of them, about 91.7 per cent, are in the services sector,” he said. -- Bernama