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Group pushes digital transformation to close gap between Sabah, peninsula SMEs
Published on: Tuesday, May 14, 2024
By: FMT, Ameera Huda
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Group pushes digital transformation to close gap between Sabah, peninsula SMEs
The SME Association of Sabah advocates the use of social media in marketing, contingent on SMEs’ access to the internet.
PETALING JAYA: Digital transformation can narrow the opportunity gap between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, an SME group said today.

SME Association of Sabah president Foo Ngee Kee said digital technology and proper internet coverage were needed to transform Sabah’s SMEs into businesses with high growth and value.

“With digital technology, we can better multiply production using machines and automation,” he said during a panel discussion at the Malaysian SME National Conference here.

Foo said the use of such technology and automation would ensure consistency and standardisation in the quality of products, helping maintain customer loyalty.

He also advocated the use of social media in marketing, contingent on SMEs’ access to the internet.

“Marketing through social media can enable small businesses to save costs and have a broader reach to people, not just in Sabah but across the globe. None of this will happen if SMEs don’t have easy access to the internet,” he said.

Foo said the National Digital Network (Jendela) programme was a good step towards improving internet coverage in rural areas.

The government allocated RM3.1 billion to Jendela’s implementation last year, with Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor saying it would particularly enhance telecommunications coverage in rural areas.

“I really hope this can be finished as soon as possible so that we can catch up with SMEs in Peninsular Malaysia,” said Foo.

He also said the government should make more active efforts, such as providing “SME hubs” to connect entrepreneurs with retirees willing to lend their skills.

“The government needs to take the lead. Hand-holding is very much necessary for Sabah’s SMEs to learn and grow,” he said.

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