CYBERJAYA: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong clarified many issues related to small and medium enterprises in a Twitter session and told budding entrepreneurs how SMEs could be started.
“We answered many questions, some of them really imaginative, during the Twitter chat. I hope that this session will help groom more people to become successful entrepreneurs in the future,” he said.
Dr Wee told The Star after the #AskSME session yesterday that dialogue between the Government and the public was necessary to disseminate information on what help start-ups could receive.
“The Government has facilities and grants available to people planning on starting their own business. There are also a lot of benefits and training programmes that certain banks can offer you.
“Aspiring entrepreneurs can, for example, apply for loans from Tabung Usahawan Siswazah and Youth Entrepreneur Fund under the SME Bank,” he said.
Dr Wee said there was a misconception that the cost of starting up an SME was very high, pointing out that Malaysia was one of the cheapest countries in the region to start a company.
He cited a 2014 report which stated that there were 665,000 businesses registered in Malaysia, 98.5% of them SMEs.
Dr Wee said SMEs needed to achieve 8.7% growth a year until 2020 to increase their contribution to gross domestic product from 32% to 41%.
He said small businesses lacking funds to set up an office could rent space at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) or apply to get government funding.
“I think that renting a space here (at MaGIC) is fantastic. There are good facilities here,” he added.
The #AskSME Twitter session was held from 10am to 11.30am. It was moderated by The Star Online editor Philip Golingai.
Dr Wee answered 35 questions, many of them on funding, grants, training and the Goods and Service Tax to be implemented on April 1.
“Many people are worried about how the GST will affect their business. But many are not aware that only businesses earning more than RM500,000 per annum must register. It is not necessary for small businesses earning below that amount to go through the process.”
Dr Wee also tweeted that corporate tax in Malaysia would gradually be reduced after the implementation of the GST.