FMM calls for speedy launch of ‘buy local’ campaign

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 4, 2019.
FMM calls for speedy launch of ‘buy local’ campaign
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KUALA LUMPUR: In view of the ongoing US-China trade conflict and uncertainties in the global environment, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has called for the expeditious launch of the “Love Malaysia, Buy Made-in-Malaysia” campaign.

In a new year message to members yesterday, FMM president Datuk Soh Thian Lai said the campaign should be implemented quickly and monitored closely in government procurement and projects, as well as promoted rigorously in domestic and overseas markets.

On that note, Soh said there should also be early and fast implementation of free trade agreements, tightening enforcement on smuggling and counterfeits, and the strengthening of intellectual property protection laws.

The government announced in Budget 2019, tabled last October, that it would allocate RM20 million to initiate a”‘Buy Malaysian First” campaign to support local products and services. The campaign will start at grassroots to provide a platform for local producers, manufacturers and service providers to market their products and services at hypermarkets, shopping centres and trade fairs.

“To take the lead, the ministry of finance will ensure Malaysian products and services, such as surgical instruments and medical implants which have received international certifications, will not be discriminated against in our procurement processes,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said.

The buy local campaign was among four key success factors that Soh had identified as Malaysia’s new manufacturing era needs.

The other three success factors are:

i) a clean and strong government that fights corruption at all times and prioritises economic development and the rakyat’s well-being;

ii) a business and investment friendly eco-system to revitalise the manufacturing sector and help new and existing investors to expand, upgrade and diversify through direct tax benefits; and

iii) high tech and high value production which will come from facilitating and expediting access to the 2019 National Budget initiatives and assistance to support Industry 4.0 technologies implementation.

“I strongly urge FMM members to optimise the use of government assistance programmes to implement firm-level initiatives, particularly in adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, skills upgrading and innovation, and leverage on market expansion and diversification programmes to support firm-level marketing development strategies,” said Soh.

He also called on members to provide industry feedback to the FMM on challenges faced, whether in accessing government programmes, or in domestic and international markets.

“FMM’s vision is to make Malaysian industries globally competitive. We will continue to work harder towards becoming the government’s partner of choice for consultation and collaboration on industry issues,” said Soh.