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SMEs welcome reopening of borders

SMEs welcome reopening of borders

11 Mar 2022

Malaysia’s economic recovery will get a huge boost with the reopening of the country’s borders on April 1, says the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta).

Its chairman, Datuk William Ng, said the national economy grew by a modest 3.1% last year against a 5.6% decline in 2020, primarily due to the extended lockdown and continued closure of borders.

“With the lifting of restrictions such as mandatory quarantine, our goal for a 5.5% to 6.0% GDP growth for 2022 is now more realistic,” he said in a statement.

Ng said although the tourism sector would be the largest beneficiary, SMEs would also benefit through better facilitation of trade and business.

He said Samenta had on Feb 20 called for a quick reopening of borders and a move to the endemic stage.

“We are happy to note that a firm date has now been announced for both.

“This is a clear signal that we are not going back to the previous uncertainties and difficult business climate as experienced during the various lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

“The recovery of our SMEs remains fragile. The announcement will help support recovery, but more help in the form of automation and pre-shipment financing will be needed as productivity and cash flow remain key challenges for Malaysian SMEs,” he added.

In about three weeks, Malaysia will reopen its borders.

Those wanting to visit the country will no longer need to apply for the MyTravelPass.

Federation of Malaysian Manu-facturers (FMM) Penang chairman Datuk Lee Teong Li said the reopening of the country’s borders would help facilitate the business of manufacturing companies.

“Some businesses still need to be conducted in person.

“For example, we need to get the repair service provider to come in for the maintenance of machines, which has been delayed for almost two years.

“All our electronic machines are under warranty but they were not able to come over for repairs,” he said.

Lee urged the government to simplify the application process for foreign workers as manufacturers have been facing a shortage for a long time.

“Due to the shortage of workers and with foreign workers unable to come in, FMM had a meeting with the Labour Department last week. However, we noticed that the application process is complicated,” he added.

He said FMM encouraged its member companies to ensure that their workers received their booster jabs and followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) strictly.

Meanwhile, Penang’s approved manufacturing investments hit a record high of RM76.2bil, driven mainly by existing investors’ reinvestment into the state.

According to a statement from InvestPenang, the state’s 2021 record significantly outpaced past performances, exceeding cumulative investments from 2012 to 2020 (RM73.1bil). According to the data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Penang’s investment inflows in 2021 involved 111 projects.

Source: The Star

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