KOTA KINABALU: Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah has assured a group of local entrepreneurs engaged in small and medium industries (SMIs) in various parts of Sabah that his ministry would give them all the necessary support and assistance for their further development and growth.
He gave this assurance yesterday at a meeting in his office with a six-man delegation from the Sabah Bumiputera Small and Medium Industry Food Producers Association (IKS) led by its president, Samsuri Said.
Members of the association expressed their gratitude for the various forms of assistance given by officials of the ministry in the past several years that had positively contributed towards the development of growth of their SMEs.
“The outcome of our meeting with the IKS officials today goes to show that it is utterly untrue to say that the government has not been attentive to the needs of SMEs and SMIs, and to say that we have given preferential attention to only big corporate investors,” Tan stated after meeting with the group.
The minister stressed that big investors to the state in fact benefitted local SMIs and SMEs directly, for the big industrial plants needed the support of smaller vendors, suppliers and enterprises to back their bigger operations.
“Big industries by necessity open up huge opportunities and avenues to local SMIs and SMEs,” Tan added.
At yesterday’s meeting, each member of the IKS delegation was given a chance to give an account on how their enterprises had grown and to highlight areas for which further assistance their respective SME needed from the ministry for further growth.
After listening to them and giving them words of encouragement, the minister announced that the ministry was planning to set up an SME village at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) where local operators of SMIs and SMEs could be located.
Tan said his ministry had been consistent in lending concrete support to SMEs such as this in various parts of the state that had propelled them to develop and grow over the years.
Kenny Ang, a member of the delegation who has been operating an SME that manufactures products under the popular ‘Anita Fragrance’ brand, said among the immediate needs of his company was space for expansion.
Ang said ‘Anita Fragrance’ products are well accepted by the China market and related how an importer from China sent a ship to fetch his products from the Sepanggar port near KKIP.
Ang added that after four years of growth, there was now a need for additional space to cope with expansion.
According to Tan, the proposed SME village at KKIP would be ideal for the expansion of SMIs operations.
“When your promotion is good, you naturally need to expand and need logistics. KKIP is a good location for you,” Tan quipped.
Another SME operator, Henry Charles who owns an SME engaged in production of ginger related products in Tambunan, told the minister that he needed a warehouse in Kota Kinabalu for his goods on transit to foreign markets.
Noorizan Elias, owner of a company that produces a wide varieties of food products, highlighted the need to raise the standard of packaging for its products.
The SME of Elias, who is a representative of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia, also produces a range of detergents under the ‘ClenNZ’ brand.
Also present was Dayang Hajjah Khatijah Datu Haji Bachtiyal, the deputy president of IKS, who is engaged in an enterprise dealing with bird’s nests and seaweed.
She expressed the need for financial assistance that would enable IKS to train local bumiputeras and prepare more of them to actively enter into small and medium industries and enterprises.
“This is where we can do to help and see that from micro you move to small and medium enterprises, then onwards to fully grown industries,” the minister told them at the meeting.
Also there was George Clinton, the treasurer of IKS Sabah Cooperative, whose enterprise is engaged in the manufacture of honey and vegetable oil.
Clinton requested further assistance from the ministry to connect him with Australian bee farmers for a more advanced technique in the extraction of honey.
The minister took the opportunity to brief them on the existing and upcoming industrial clusters at KKIP such as those for bio-tech, Halal food and automobile.
As many of them have their operations located at the SME Park at Lok Kawi, the minister told them that he would visit them in the near future and have a dialogue with them and study their needs in depth and attend to them accordingly.
Tan advised all members of the delegation to submit to his ministry a company profile for their operations so that the ministry would gauge from the growth of their SME in what area support could be given.