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M'sian Chinese businessmen optimistic over outlook
Publication Date : 01-03-2013
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) is optimistic about its outlook for 2013 to 2015, on the back of a better 2012 second-half sales performance based on its biannual survey on the economic situation in Malaysia.
The survey was conducted to gain feedback and opinion from Chinese businessmen on the business environment for the period reviewed, and assist the Government in gauging the economic situation facing the Chinese business community, while providing a basis for the ACCCIM to submit relevant memoranda to it.
The results were announced yesterday at a press conference at the association's headquarters.
The survey, for the second half of 2012, showed 59 per cent of respondents expressed confidence in the outlook, up from 46 per cent in the previous survey.
It was based on 408 questionnaire responses, which is a 55.9 per cent representation of the wholesale and retail, manufacturing, professional and business services, construction, real estate, agriculture, forestry and fishery, telecommunications and information technology sectors.
Although 84 per cent of the respondents raised concerns about the weak global economy, businesses drew strength from good and satisfactory sales performance in the second half of 2012 compared with the first six months.
About 85 per cent of the respondents replied that their firms' sales performances were either good or satisfactory, an increase of 8 per cent versus the first half of 2012, where only 77 per cent of respondents reported similar outcomes.
Their sentiments were supported by businesses' anticipation of an increase in production volumes, sustained inventory levels, improved collections from customers, increased orders from overseas markets, and sustained levels of new local orders.
The survey also found that factors such as government policies, manpower shortages, increases in operating costs and prices of raw materials as well as domestic competition had adversely impacted business performance in the second half of last year.
“Most Chinese SMEs (small and medium enterprises) were unable to benefit from the Economic Transformation Programme, which supports big players such as those in the oil and gas industry,” ACCCIM deputy chairman of the socio-economic research committee Peck Boon Soon told reporters. “In spite of the challenges, these smaller businesses are optimistic about help from the authorities.”
“The chamber has been in talks with the Government and some of our requests have been obliged,” he said.
On the issue of the minimum wage policy and its toll on businesses this year, chamber president Datuk Lim Kok Cheong said that companies were troubled by it.
“As it is, it is a challenge to cope with the most recently enforced 900 ringgit (US$290) (for workers in the peninsula). More support is necessary for this, and even more so if the amount will be increased,” he said.
When probed further, he maintained the chamber's stance on “dealing with the Government, not political parties”.
“Policy is one thing, but implementation is another. As an NGO, we are always supportive of corporations and the Government. And we hope that our needs are heard,” Lim said.