Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced a new definition of small medium enterprises (SMEs),which is expected to see an increase in the number of such firms, and will facilitate the country's transformation into a high income nation.
Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said the new definition is effective Jan 1, 2014.
He said the National SME Development Council at its meeting today had approved the proposal to enhance the qualifying threshold for annual turnover and number of workers, for all SME sectors.
For the manufacturing sector, he said SMEs are classified as companies with an annual turnover not exceeding RM50 million (less than RM25 million at present) or having workers not exceeding 200 (less than the 150 now).
For the services sector, he said the value threshold was also raised, with SMEs defined as firms with annual sales not exceeding RM20 million (less than RM5 million at present) or not more than 75 workers (less than 50 currently).
Under the new definitions, Najib said micro enterprises are firms with annual sales of less than RM300,000 or fewer than five workers.
"The review is right for the present, noting the changing economy, and the new definition means the number of firms classified as SMEs will increase after this.
"The number of SMEs is expected to increase from 97.3 per cent at present to 98.5 per cent," he told a media conference here.
Najib had earlier chaired the meeting of the 14th National SME Development Council, with the members comprising 16 ministries and agencies, including those from Sabah and Sarawak, at Bangunan Perdana Putra.
Also present were the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, and the Chief Executive Officer of SME Corp, Datuk Hafsah Hashim.
Meanwhile, Najib said the Council also discussed the "breakout strategy" for micro enterprises which will be streamlined further, to provide incentives and encouragement to improve productivity in the sector.
He said the Council had also discussed a working paper by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to develop six hawker centres, to be given a new lease of life.
The hawker centres are at the Bandar Tun Razak Commercial Community Centre, Razak, the Jalan Usahawan Hawker Centre, the Taman Maluri Food Court, the Taman Setiawangsa Food Court, the Selera Damai Food Court and the Mega Food Court.
"We have decided on a new approach, to project a model which is better and based on the development concept, such as that for the mini Urban Transformation Centre(UTC) with the presence of Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia.
"We also decided on a strategic alliance with the private sector so that the appearance of the hawker centre, the level of cleanliness and other characteristics can be incorporated into the facility.
"With this, the hawker centres will have a better attraction compared to previously," Najib said.