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KUALA LUMPUR: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are urged to have more courage to adopt the fourth industrial revolution (IR4.0) technologies to increase their productivity and remain competitive.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said Malaysian SMEs are still reluctant to adopt the IR4.0 and this could hamper their opportunities to participate in the international arena.

“Their reluctance will lead them to lose out not only to successful economies but also developing economies.

“We need to wake them up or else, the core competencies that have been developed by our countries, especially in IR4.0 such as in mechatronics, might migrate to other countries,” he told reporters after officiating the SME CEO Forum 2019 here yesterday, which was organised by SME Magazine.

He said foreign direct investments (FDIs) have made Malaysia a leading high-tech manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia, with advancements brought into Malaysia by multinationals using foreign technologies.

Merely having access to the know-how, the human resources, and the technology in this space will not suffice as the local entrepreneurs must now become innovators in developing own solutions to stay ahead of the game, he said.

“We must take the reins and become leaders in our own right. We have the know-how, the human resources and technology in this field. We cannot sit idly and wait for foreign advances to reach our shores. Take the lead in the development of IR4.0 and become the envy of the world.

“As entrepreneurs, we must be courageous and creative and have just the right amount of candour to enable us to learn and unlearn in order to remain relevant, find our niche and compete with the rest of the world,” he said.

He noted that at this juncture, the country is losing its competitiveness to Vietnam; hence the need to create more awareness among the SMEs to adopt IR4.0 technologies to remain competitive.

Mohd Redzuan said his ministry would also encourage SMEs to showcase their skills and core competencies as well as enhancing the pool of resources that adopt IR4.0 technologies to stimulate FDIs, especially to bring about quality investments.

This could also help in creating better employment opportunities for local workers as well as reducing the five million legal and illegal foreign workers in Malaysia, he added. – Bernama