SME redefinition does not affect MTDC’s funds disbursement

As at Jan 31, MTDC has approved RM10m of funds to 4 companies in 2018 under CDRF and HTDF

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

Malaysian Technology Development Corp (MTDC) said the redefinition of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has not affected the fund provider’s assessment in disbursing funds to local companies.

“As we are dealing with start-ups and small companies, providing funds to companies who are growing in the early stages, our process would not be affected as much,” MTDC CEO Datuk Norhalim Yunus (picture) said.

“At the moment, we are nowhere near the definition limit,” he said.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) reported on Tuesday that listed entities and government-linked companies (GLCs), including their subsidiaries, are no longer deemed as SMEs and do not qualify for any government assistance.

According to an internal circular by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) sighted by TMR, the SME definition revision came into effect from Jan 1, 2018.

Companies under the Minister of Finance Inc, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), large firms and multinational corporations are also omitted from enjoying any grants and benefits from the government under the new SME definition.

As at Jan 31, MTDC has approved RM10 million worth of funds to four companies in 2018 under its its Commercialisation Research Development Fund (CDRF) and Halal Technology Development Fund (HTDF).

Between 2016 and 2017, the fund provider has approved RM330 million to 116 companies, which have not been fully disbursed.

MTDC funds are disbursed through six channels, namely CRDF, Technology Acquisition Fund, HTDF, Business Start-up Fund, Business Growth Fund and Business Expansion Fund.

Meanwhile, Norhalim said MTDC has no plan to abandon grassroot-level innovations as it may hold the key to the sustainability issue.

As the fourth industrial revolution is fuelling vast majority of local industries, he said it is imperative to develop an innovative nation through a balanced funding of cutting-edge machinery and sustainability-focused products.

“Innovation is cross-continuum. Although it is important to invest in cutting-edge technology to be competitive as a nation, we need to balance that with products that are diverse in the international market.

“At the moment, we are highlighting value-added ideas in invention and innovation that can serve the need for sustainability living,” Norhalim told TMR at the launch of Jesa Enterprise Sdn Bhd’s new manufacturing plant in Selangor yesterday.

He added that grassroot-level innovations have similar chances of penetrating the global market as the products are derived from advanced technology.

“From our (point of) view, we assist all eligible companies to grow further as they can, and going global has always been the endgame due to the limited Malaysian market.

“Our funding-products that are based on the sustainability living often find places in the European market, countries that are known to be passionate for eco-friendly living.

“Once they get the Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia’s approval and acquire the halal logo from Malaysian Islamic Development Department, our products are good to go,” he explained.

Moving forward, MTDC plans to engage with companies within the digitalisation space in order to spur the country’s fourth industrial revolution.

“According to what we have approved so far, there are a couple of green technology projects that are making an impact within the industry.

“In fact, we have funded several projects on robotics, hard-performance computing and augmented reality technology, that we are interested to promote for this year’s allocation,” he said.

MTDC, he said, is also planning to allocate RM150 million to fund the adoption of technologies among local companies.