PETALING JAYA: More special allocations and incentives are needed under the 2023 Revised Budget to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) spur the local economy, say groups.

SME Association national president Ding Hong Sing welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s initiative to put SMEs as one of the main focuses in the revised 2023 Budget.

He said the government must find ways, such as giving incentives and grants, to help SMEs produce more output and move towards automation and digitalisation.

“Some of the SMEs, especially in the manufacturing sector, are still functioning in semi-automation.

“If the government can give them a special grant with zero interest for them to move towards fully automated development, it will help them a lot,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Ding added that if more companies were able to be fully automated, they could achieve a higher output, which in the long run would boost the local economy.

Anwar had announced that digital advancement, small and medium enterprises, and the green economy would be the focus of the revised 2023 Budget.

The Prime Minister said those were among the initiatives that would be given a boost in the Budget, given their importance and potential.

The chairman of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia SMEs committee, Koong Lin Loong (pic), said there must be special allocations and measures in Budget 2023 to attract foreign investors, especially from China.

He said as the Chinese international border has reopened, Malaysia must immediately capitalise on it by offering tax breaks and other benefits.

“With the reopening of (Chinese) borders, not only tourists but also investors will flood destinations around the world.”

“We need to have special measures in place so that Malaysia can be the preferred investment destination for the Chinese nationals, which would then help our SMEs to flourish,” he told The Star.

By capturing these foreign investors through the assistance provided, he said Malaysia would be able to be the regional hub that local SMEs could benefit from.

“When they (foreign investors) come here, they will need our resources and labour. And these can be provided by our SMEs,” he said.

Koong added that the most sought-after sector that investors would be interested in would be green technology; hence, he called for the government to also allocate for the sector.

To help local SMEs, he said the government must also consider improving the tax incentive to encourage the growth of businesses.