The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Warisan pledges to continue protecting interests of SMI in Sabah
KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) has assured that it will continue to serve and protect the interests of the small and medium industry (SMI) and micro-businesses players in Sabah and also to work out within the Federal level to remove barriers that impede the growth of that sector.
Kudat assemblyman Ben Chong said the party is prioritising the SMI and micro-businesses because they play an important part in nation building through taxes and duties collected while at the same time, provide employment to the locals.
“Warisan believes that industrialisation is the key if Sabah aspires to become a developed State with SMIs and micro-businesses the important building blocks in the process, hence, the need for us to protect their interests.
“And until today, the party's president, Shafie Apdal and his deputy, Darell Leiking still maintain their ‘open door' practice where they will engage with leaders or members of business associations or stakeholders directly or personally to understand their business needs.
“The commitment is also reflected when Shafie allocated some RM40 million for the State's micro-businesses through Sabah Credit Corporation and another RM50 million loan for SME players during the announcement of the First Round of the Covid-19 Aid Package worth RM670 million in
March 24, 2020.
“And under the Second Round of the Covid-19 Aid Package ‘Sabah New Deal' worth RM240 million, RM60 million had been allocated to invigorate the digitalisation of the private sector including SME and RM25 million interest-free loan allocated for those in the agrofood industry.
“In fact, Warisan placed high importance on SMIs and microbusinesses in Sabah through our Special Covid-19 Manifesto at last year's State Election where we aspire to boost the setting up of cooperations, the opening up of strategic industrial hubs all over the State, to intensify the effort to bring in FDIs and DDIs thru MTI and InvestSabah and the introduction of Fast Track Special Permit to regulate and assist our youths who are doing home businesses,” he said in a statement.
The former State Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry also said several impediments that hampered the growth of SMIs and micro-businesses in Sabah throughout the years require resolute commitment from the Federal Government for the solution, thus, the party's powersharing agreement with other political parties will be guided in solving the impediments.
“Many of the constraints that our SMIs and micro-businesses players have to face such as funds, grants, electricity tariffs, marketing overseas, Cabotage, ports and infrastructure are dependent on the commitment and political will of parties that form the Federal Government of the day.
“It is rather unfortunate that while Warisan was in the midst of getting these impediments removed such as by regaining SESB and the control of our gas or finding larger market for our Sabah-made products through Matrade, the PH Government was toppled which subsequently saw the change of the State Government.
“Since the interests of Sabah's SMIs and micro-businesses is top priority for Warisan, it is imperative that our political partners understand the issues affecting our players, agree to remove whatever impediments there are and to assist our players to achieve their potentials,” he said.
Meanwhile, Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking said that one distinct feature that distinguishes Warisan from other political parties is its commitment to spread the economic opportunities to all.
“Warisan doesn't care if you're Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak, KDM, Bajau or if you're Muslim or Non-Muslim or if you operate a stall or have a food processing or manufacturing business - your hard work and perseverance to do an honest business day and night so that you can provide for your family especially the education for your children will always inspire many, especially our youths, and including the President and myself too.
“But hard work and perseverance alone are not enough because the business environment must also be conducive to ensure our players experience continuous growth hence herein the role of both the Federal and State Governments as ‘effective facilitators' through fair and effective distribution of funds and assistance to players who have performed well in the past.
“And the Government need to invest more on building new ‘economic infrastructures' that can help our SMIs and microbusinesses players such as ecommerce and not to spend too much time talking about the needs and policies of yesterday because in the end, the Federal Government will still be the biggest gainer through taxes and duties collected by them from our players,” he said.