RANAU, Jan 27 — The Sabah government will open four more Small and Medium Industry (SMI) Product Centres, bringing the total to seven, in an effort to promote and sell local products, Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said.

He said the centres, which will be opened in Tawau, Keningau, Kota Marudu and Tuaran, will play an important role in spurring the success of the Buy Sabah-Made Goods Campaign besides supporting local entrepreneurs.

“Another centre in Papar is currently being developed and is expected to be operational soon. The opening of the SMI Product Centres is one of the initiatives taken by the government to help SME entrepreneurs promote and sell their products.

“I hope the opening of more SME Product Centres will have a big impact on the local retail sector,” he said when officiating the Buy Sabah-Made Goods Campaign at Kiaburi Plaza here today.

Present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam who is also State Minister of Industrial Development; Sabah Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Masidi Manjun; and Federal Deputy Home Affairs Minister II Datuk Jonathan Yasin.

Sabah has to date three SMI Product Centres, namely in Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort and Ranau.

Hajiji said under the state’s Budget 2022, the Department of Industrial Development and Research (DIDR) is allocated RM5.76 million to set up four SMI Product Centres.

He said another initiative implemented was the Sabah SME Product Marketing Programme in local supermarkets in the state, where DIDR, in collaboration with Pasaraya Bataras, was distributing Sabah products to all its branches.

“Besides Bataras, SMI products are also marketed throughout Kedai Mesra in Sabah and Labuan in collaboration with Petronas Dagangan Bhd, especially food products. This programme is part of the government’s efforts to help Covid-19-hit SME entrepreneurs,” he said.

Commenting on the Buy Sabah-Made Goods Campaign, Hajiji said the programme, which was incorporated in the Sabah Maju Jaya Development Plan for 2021, was timely to revive the domestic economy and help SME entrepreneurs promote their products.

“I hope this campaign will be a starting point for joint efforts between the government, industry and the people in ensuring that our success in reviving the economy can be continued to boost the state’s economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, he hopes entrepreneurs and traders in Sabah would not only focus their business in the local market, but also abroad by making full use of the e-commerce platform which is now the choice of many.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused most businesses to switch to the widespread use of digital technology. I am confident that Sabah-made products have the potential and quality to compete with foreign goods,” he said.