KUALA LUMPUR (July 11): In the face of a competitive, challenging and uncertain global economy due to the trade war, entrepreneurship in the country needs to be strengthened, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the development of entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is important to improve the people’s economy, as well as being a strategy and initiative to help the country escape from the middle-income trap.
“As such, the National Entrepreneurship Policy 2030 (NEP 2030) launched today is most apt and right on time,” he said in his keynote address at the launch of the policy here, today.
Despite the economic uncertainties caused by the United States-China trade war, Dr Mahathir said the country remains capable of attracting foreign investments, with foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the first quarter of 2019 reaching RM21.7 billion, compared with RM11.2 billion during the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund-World Economic Outlook 2019 report also projected a positive outlook for Malaysia.
The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income are expected to increase, and based on the current valuation, Malaysia will be able to become a high income economy by 2021 or 2022, he said.
“These figures and projections show our capability in boosting the economy, but we need to exercise caution and be prepared to face the possibility of any situation which could negatively affect growth.
“Therefore, we should focus on domestic direct investments at the same level as our focus and hopes on FDIs,” said Dr Mahathir.
He added that the government also wished to see a bigger contribution from the SMEs to the country’s GDP.
Under NEP 2030, the SMEs are targeted to contribute 45% to the GDP, account for 72% of jobs in the country and 25% of the export sector’s contribution to the GDP.
Dr Mahathir said with the holistic policy in place, several issues which have been affecting the entrepreneurs can be resolved in order to establish an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“I hope this will become the nucleus and catalyst for the culture of entrepreneurship in this country,” he added. — Bernama