The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Warisan pledges to continue protecting interests of SMI in Sabah

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KOTA

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.

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Chong

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