Saturday, August 20

Mara, PDB to co-develop and enhance capabilities of food, automotive SMEs


Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad

KUALA LUMPUR: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PDB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to co-develop and enhance the capability and competitiveness of the Bumiputera small and medium enterprises (SMEs) especially in the automotive and food sectors.

Minister of Rural Development Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said many local SMEs have big potential but face challenges such as financial constraint, lack of certification and business knowledge to compete with bigger brands in the market.

He said the three-year collaboration would benefit the Bumiputera entrepreneurs in that they could expand and explore new markets through Kedai Mesra and automotive service centre, Petronas AutoExpert.

He said Mara and PDB aimed to help entrepreneurs market their products to more than 750 Kedai Mesra Petronas nationwide and product selection would be done through product pitching comprising a panel of representatives from PDB and Mara to identify the potential products to be marketed.

“I am excited and pleased with the PDB and Mara’s initiative to guide and bring local SMEs to a better level that will accelerate their business growth, especially in these challenging times,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The MoU was signed by PDB managing director and chief executive officer Azrul Osman Rani and Mara director general Datuk Azhar Abdul Manaf.

Witnessing the ceremony were Abdul Latiff and Petronas vice-president of marketing, downstream business, Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir.

Abdul Latif said the collaboration would also open up the opportunities for workshop owners to participate in Petronas AutoExpert and Auto Service workshop developed by Petronas Lubricant Marketing Malaysia (PLMM).

He said qualified local automotive workshops would join the Petronas AutoExpert network with access to systems and equipment that help facilitate services more efficiently, comprehensive solution scheme, training, marketing support, effective trading programmes, and consulting services to better expand the business in the future, and leveraging Petronas as a leading global brand.

“To ensure that Bumiputera entrepreneurs are sustainable and competitive in the local market, Mara provides facilities that can benefit entrepreneurs such as Entrepreneurship Training Programme, business financing facilities and commercial lot leasing to enhance the company’s capacity and capabilities,” he said.

To date, PDB has more than 350 local SME vendors that supply various products to Kedai Mesra nationwide.

Meanwhile, Syed Zainal said Petronas is always supporting the promotion of local businesses and strengthening the domestic economy in line with PDB’s strategic growth agenda to expand its non-fuel business, increase awareness, and procurement of quality local products and services. — Bernama