KOTA KINABALU: More allocations should be channelled to the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Ministry and its agencies considering the significant role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the economy, says Datuk Ewon Benedick.

The newly-minted minister noted that MSMEs provide employment to 47.8% of the population and increased funds would help create more jobs for Malaysians.

On Tuesday (Dec 13), Benedick attended a briefing by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (Pernas) and the Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation (SME Corp Malaysia) at the agencies’ offices in Putrajaya.

Pernas and SME Corp are among 11 agencies under the ministry.

Also present were Deputy Minister Saraswathy Kandasami and secretary-general Datuk Seri Suriani Ahmad.

The briefing at Pernas was delivered by head of development Francais Mazlan Ibrahim, while the SME Corp briefing was conducted by its chief executive officer Rizal Nainy.

According to Benedick, both Pernas and SME Corp have an important role to produce more entrepreneurs in the field of franchise business.

"SME Corp Malaysia is a development agency that drives the growth and business transformation of Malaysia's MSMEs," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 14).

"We hope more allocations will be channelled to this ministry and our agencies so that we can empower SMEs and provide more job opportunities," he added.

At the SME Corp briefing, Rizal said that among the programmes that the agency will implement next year would be Tunas Usahawan Belia Bumiputra (TUBE).

The programme, he said, was specifically meant for bumiputra youth aged between 18 and 30 who were interested in business and who have a basic skills certificate from a training institute or local skills centre.

SME Corp will also implement the Bumiputra Export Promotion Programme (GEB) aimed at increasing the number of bumiputra SMEs in the export market as well as creating networks and supply chains.

After the briefing, Benedick visited product displays by local entrepreneurs who received funding or assistance from the agency at the SME Corp exhibition centre.

During Benedick’s visit to Pernas, the minister also took time to stop by several stalls under the agency, such as Abdul Samad Al-Qurashi (ASQ) brand perfume oil and Gloria Jean's Coffees.