Image credit: The Malaysian Reserve

PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (Medac) is optimistic on the setting up of the National Entrepreneurship Development Council (MPKN) to be the catalyst for Malaysia’s aspiration of becoming an outstanding entrepreneurial nation by 2030.

In line with this aspiration, the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) is expected to contribute up to 50% to national gross domestic product (GDP) as compared to 38.9% achieved in 2019.

MPKN is poised to drive the development and growth of MSMEs while acting as a communication platform between the federal and state governments. The latter effort is to strengthen current entrepreneurial ecosystem across all levels.

MPKN is also expected to play a leading role in coordinating policy and way forward for entrepreneurship development of the nation. Additionally, MPKN will set the scope of cooperation between the federal and state governments as well as recommending integrated strategic initiatives and measures to holistically address issues, challenges and obstacles faced by entrepreneurs of all levels.

The inaugural meeting of MPKN was held virtually on Tuesday and the meeting was presided over by the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pix). MPKN membership includes the minister and permanent secretary of the Ministry responsible for entrepreneurship development for Sabah and Sarawak as well as ministries and federal government agencies, represented by the secretary-general of the Ministry and head of government department of the relevant agency. Other members of the meeting include state councillors or excos responsible for entrepreneurship development.

The inaugural meeting discussed strategic cooperation between Medac with state development authorities of Kedah and Perlis. The strategic cooperation overlooks the strengthening of current programmes to develop entrepreneurs as well as MSMEs in their respective States. In addition, Medac will study suitable methods and initiatives to assist entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak, particularly those in the interior areas, diversifying local products and services, enhance current infrastructure and improve their productivity. Medac will also look into market access expansion for local MSMEs with Ministry of Industrial Development Sabah and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation.

“The establishment of MPKN is crucial taking into account the importance of restoring the economy impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Medac has always been committed to helping the MSMEs including informal entrepreneurs and cooperatives at all levels. The current dire situation requires the MSMEs to improve their competitiveness and ability to meet tough economic challenges” said Wan Junaidi.

The minister also mentioned that Medac, through MPKN, will identify appropriate strategic and proactive measures to address issues and challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Medac will also coordinate the implementation of entrepreneurship initiatives at both federal and state levels so as to be in line with current socio-economic policies and planning of the government, bringing closer an ideal and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“MPKN is also the platform for Medac to form collective cooperation with all stakeholders so that the implementation of outlined strategies and initiatives can produce competitive and successful local entrepreneurs in a fair, equitable and inclusive economy. In addition, MPKN will help Medac to obtain accurate information on current updated situation of entrepreneurs’ development and relevant grassroots information as well as data on informal entrepreneurs, which account for more than 1 million people. This information and data will help Medac make better planning and effective interventions that will match the real needs of entrepreneurs as well as to avoid duplication of assistance between the state and federal governments. This will encourage prudent and optimised spending of available government resource,“ he explained.

Wan Junaidi said that in 2021, Medac through its 5E approach “Enculture, Enable, Empower, Energise and Engage” will implement various programmes with a total allocation of RM3.5 billion that will benefit entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs, at all levels and backgrounds. The programmes include business financing, rental discounts, capacity building and training, digitisation and technology adoption, access to markets as well as targeted moratoriums and other assistance to help entrepreneurs adapt to new business norms following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Medac will work with state governments to mobilise resources and ideas in providing assistance and services to current and would-be entrepreneurs throughout the nation. MPKN will essentially assist Medac in leading the nation’s entrepreneurship development efforts in an integrated manner, in line with the Ministry’s mission of supporting the nation’s socio-economic development agenda.