Malaysians not buying local products despite awareness

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE commitment level of Malaysians buying local-made goods is still below 40%, although more than 75% of them are aware of the ‘Buy Malaysian’ campaign.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen said there is a misperception by most Malaysians that products made in the country are mediocre in terms of standard and quality and that imported goods are better. “We know that now everything is made in China, but even the Chinese and Indonesian markets are looking up to Malaysia in terms of buying products.

“The ‘Buy Malaysian’ campaign has been around for years, but it has to start with us. We need to change our perception,” he told reporters during the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) 2019 conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Chong added that various forms of cooperations have been set up such as regular listing of local products in hypermarkets and supermarkets with minimal fees. “We have also rolled out new trade activities and training programmes with various e-commerce marketplaces to support the digital acceleration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“With such initiatives, we hope that more local products will penetrate the country’s retail market and that it would be able to help encourage consumers to buy local-made goods,” he said.

Meanwhile, FMM president Datuk Soh Thian Lai commended the government for establishing major policy instruments to stimulate the growth of local industries, especially during the Budget 2020 tabling.

“We are among the top 20 trading nations in the world, and we have exported more than 8,000 billion of products over the years which means that our products are competitive,” he said.

On another note, Chong has also urged SMEs to participate in the government procurement (GP) scheme through the e-Perolehan system, as it is the biggest domestic market in the country.

He added that the allocation of about RM160 billion from RM241 billion of the government allocation for operating expenses in Budget 2020 is a huge chunk for SMEs to tap into and help improve the local economy.

“This is an opportunity for SMEs to do better as they can supply goods and provide services to government offices. This allows the government to have alternate choices and quotations from more local players.

“The SMEs should brush off the misconception that GP is a tedious process, as it is not as complicated as they imagine. They just need to follow a checklist of procedures and it will be processed accordingly.

“The government is now adopting a more consultative approach, so it should be easier for SMEs as we go through a systematic reform,” he said.

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs will be holding the “Buy Made-in-Malaysia” campaign at national level from Oct 30 to Nov 3, 2019, at Angsana Square in Johor Baru.

A number of interesting and informative activities such as exhibitions, consumer programmes and stage performances have been planned for the campaign.