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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Small and medium enterprises’ (SME) circumstances varied wildly by sector and would benefit from specific assistance policies beyond the overarching National Recovery Plan, said Datuk Azlin Ahmad Shaharbi.

The chairman of the National Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association Malaysia said this was because the pandemic has not affected all sectors equally, noting that some were thriving even as others neared collapse.

“So, in any policies, it’s that we were to undertake, it is important to be specific. The National Recovery Plan (NRP) and the National Recovery Council are good first steps to start off our national recovery effort but I think we will need to go down and segmentised the SMEs and put them in stages of business evolution to be able to come up with clear recovery roadmaps which will be suited to each segment because while you talk about broad policies but at the end of the day what’s important is that effectiveness of the policies,’’ she said.

Azlin was speaking as a panellist for the “Building Back Better — Rebuilding and Resetting Business and the Economy” forum conducted under the National Recovery Summit hosted by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific (KSI) today.

Azlin also urged the government to carry out a study with other stakeholders such as academics, non-governmental organisations, entrepreneurs to come out with a business outlook or specific policies to help revive or boost local businesses.

“It is also important that the government conduct a study of the business outlook for Malaysia because now for the SMEs, especially for the micro things are very blur. There is no clarity in everything.

“Of course, we know that the business landscape has changed. Businesses which have done well before may no longer be relevant in this post pandemic times. It’s important for everyone to put their heads together and see what businesses are good post pandemic,’’ she said.

Other panellists included Datuk Mohammed Nageeb Wahab, chief executive officer for Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA); Abrar A. Anwar, chairman of the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, and managing director and CEO of Standard Chartered Malaysia; Stan Singh, secretary-general of Malaysia Retail Chain Association; and Datuk Wei Chuan Beng senior executive director for KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific.

KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific president Tan Sri Michael Yeoh was also moderating the panel.

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