KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22: Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are unlikely to be impacted should the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is called off, said the Secretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Dr A.T. Kumararajah.

He said currently Malaysia has inked more than 160 free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, and the TPPA was only one of them.

“It would not change much should the TPPA cease to exist, and I don’t think much of the Malaysian SMEs will be affected in the near term,” he said on the sidelines of the “SME and Entrepreneurship Business Award 2017” media briefing here, today.

It was reported that the US President-elect Donald Trump announced on Monday that he would withdraw the country from the TPPA on his first day in office.

Meanwhile, Kumararajah expects the growth of the SMEs to hit six per cent this year as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to increase by between four and 4.5 per cent in 2016.

“Under the SME Masterplan 2012-2020, if you want the country’s GDP to grow by six per cent, the SME sector needs to grow at around 30 to 35 per cent higher than the nation’s growth,” he said.

Moving forward, he remains cautiously optimistic that 2017 would meet 2016’s six per cent growth rate, as compared to the seven per cent growth in 2015.

“The currency market is taking a beating recently, and Malaysia is not exclusive from that…but most SMEs have already hedged against it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yayasan Usahawan Malaysia (MyPreneurship) Founder Nitesh Malani said the SME and Entrepreneurship Business Award 2017, which will take place on Jan 10, 2017, had received more than 168 nominees for 44 award categories thus far.

“The award aims to recognise the SMEs for their credentials, to develop the entrepreneur community and propel them toward greater heights,” he said.

MyPreneurship is the organiser of the award, and the nominations will close on Dec 15, 2016. -- BERNAMA