Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SMEs need continuous support from govt, says chambers’ president

BINTULU: The Small and Medium (SME) industries in the state are comparatively small and weak, said the president of Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sarawak (ACCCIS), Sia Hiong Ngee (pictured left).

Thus, continuous support from the government in terms of loan and providing affordable industrial lands are vital.

Sia said the government’s policy of encouraging foreign investment is highly laudable as vast foreign direct investments do not only bring employments but stimulate economic growth.

“While welcoming foreign direct investments (FDI), I hope that the government will also put more effort to promote local industries especially SME’s,” said Sia in his keynote address during ACCCIS 44th annual general meeting at ParkCity Everly Hotel last Saturday.

He said the state government’s implementation of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) was most encouraging.

“Mammoth projects such as the pulp and paper mill in Tatau, polycilicion and aluminium smelter plants in Similajau, press metal aluminium plant in Balingian, the Bakun and Murun hydro plants will bring a lot of opportunities.

“Not only to sub-contractors and suppliers but also to transporters, food caterers, hotel operators, furniture supplies and many more related businesses,” said Sia.

He hoped that the pace of constructing the infrastructure, especially bridges could be accelerated.

According to him the major roads linking the SCORE centres from Tg Manis in the southern tip to Similajau at the north-eastern top were yet to be connect for the efficient free-flow of traffic.

Sia who is the president of Bintulu Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry pointed out that in the near future the road system in Bintulu would not be able to cater for the heavy road traffic.

He reasoned that based on a record that more than 60 per cent of the heavy vehicles registered in Sarawak were in Bintulu.

“We hope that the government will upgrade Medan Jaya, Kidurong road, Medan Jaya mile 7 junction to an eight-lane carriageways while Bintulu Airport and Tatau road to a four-lane carriageway,” he added.

Sia also hoped the authorities concerned would speed up the process of approval of project applications because delayed approvals would put off a lot of proposals and cool down enthusiasm.

Apart from that he also requested for the relevant government authorities if possible to build factories and lease them out to beginners who have the skill but lack of capital.

“This will create a bigger and healthier business community and they will become the supporting industries for the conglomerates, increasing their efficiency and reducing their maintenance costs,” he said.

On the swiftlet farming industry, Sia called for full support and assistance from the relevant authority.

In view of the increased demand and good price for the product, the chamber hoped that more people irrespective of race and origin could participate in the business.

He also noted that young people nowadays preferred office to field works, adding that this was a serious phenomenon because we were running short of blue-collar workers which had to be bridged.

“Parents and learning institutions need to further encourage the young to take up blue-collar jobs.

“Only if they work hard, willing to learn, their future is equally good, if not better than those taking up white-collar jobs as those taking up white-collar jobs if not better,” Sia said.

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