SABAH’S SME DEVELOPMENT NOT AS FAST AS OTHER STATES

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KOTA KINABALU, March 16 (Bernama) -- Despite the successful historical

evidence regarding the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in

Malaysia, the development of the sector in Sabah is surprisingly slower than its

counterparts in the peninsula, say two researchers here.

The number of SME establishments in Sabah are statistically low compared to

the smaller states in the country, said Dr Imbarine Bujang and Afendy Suraip

quoting a 2005 census from the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

They are also yet to be inspired by the wave of changes introduced by the

government for the past few decades, they said in a paper presented at the

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)''s Sabah Second Economic Conference 2011 here

today.

With 24,794 SME companies, Sabah took the 10th position in terms of the

number of SME companies from the list of the 14 states, they said when

presenting their paper entitled "Malaysian SME Development: Discovering Factors

of Development in Sabah".

Considering Sabah''s total population of 3.14 million and as the second

largest state covering 73,997 sq km, Sabah can generate a larger number of SMEs

and revenues and be as competitive as Sarawak, they said.

"Although it''s in the heart of BIMP-EAGA - a region of 55 million population

which offers abundant resources for trade and shipping - the state is performing

poorly in both SME establishments and revenues aspects compared to other states

which are smaller and lower in population.

"Generally, this situation should not occur as a high population in an area

would provide necessary labour supply and also at the same time, market demand

with the existence of appropriate product and services provided by small and

medium enterprises," they said.

The two researchers concluded that government support was the most

influential factor for the SMEs development based on the study done in Sabah,

and it was also significantly related to the confidence and success of SMEs.

"It proves that the government support may come in handy, and we also

believe that the enterprises'' weaknesses such lack in business skills and

financing might be abolished by the support from the government."

Technology was the second most important factor determining the success of

enterprises as their adaptation improved productivity and quality of production,

while reducing costs and production time.

Among other barriers the paper highlighted was competition from foreign

or large firms.--BERNAMA

KI SD

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