Saturday, February 11, 2012


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Assalamualaikum W.B.T and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr. (Ir.) Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid,

Chairman of SME Corporation Malaysia;

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Hafsah Hashim,

CEO of SME Corp. Malaysia;

Puan Shamsimar Yusof,


Panel of Women Entrepreneurs, SME Corp. Malaysia;

Distinguished Speakers and Moderator; and

Honourable guests,

Before I begin, please allow me to express my sincere appreciation to SME Corporation Malaysia for organising the Women Entrepreneurs Hi-Tea today. Today’s event was proposed by the Honourable Minister, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed last October during the Women Entrepreneurs Luncheon.

2. I am delighted to see the good turnout this afternoon comprising of prominent businesswomen from various industries. Thank you for sparing a portion of your precious time to be with us at this Hi-Tea despite your hectic schedule.

Distinguished guests,

3. Women of today have certainly achieved greater successes in society. A number of prominent women in society come to mind-Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz (Governor of Central Bank of Malaysia), Tan Sri Datuk Zarinah Anwar (Chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission) and sportswoman such as Datuk Nicol Ann David, the world no. 1 squash player who serves as an inspiration to both men and women and Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza who has also ventured into the business world.

4. In MITI, we have our own Datuk Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria. In SME Corp, we have our own Dato Hafsah Hashim and in MATRADE we have our own Dr. Wong Lai Sum. All very capable women.

5. I believe that the presence of Malaysian women at the helm of various organisations or in the corporate sector will continue to be the positive trend as women continue to excel in various fields; even in those that were once dominated by men.

Honourable guests,

6. I wish to assure you that the Government will continue to provide support for women through various initiatives that will facilitate your empowerment. As all of you are aware, one of the key agenda in the 10th Malaysia Plan is the empowerment of women. We will increase our effort towards addressing issues confronting women to enable them to realise their full potential and participate more effectively in the socio-economic development of the country.

7. Further efforts will also be made to improve women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities. This commitment is manifested by the National Key Result Area (NKRA) that has identified the prioritisation of creating 4,000 women entrepreneurs by 2012 by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

8. In addition, as announced by the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Y.A.B. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak on June 2011, the Government is also determined at increasing the number of women in decision making positions. I am sure that most of you are aware that Malaysia’s corporate sector has been given a five year transition period to raise the number of women to at least 30% of women as members of the board of directors.

9. Furthermore, to accord due recognition of the contribution of women to nation-building the inaugural Prime Minister’s Award for Woman Entrepreneur and Social Activist was also introduced in September of 2011.

10. Also, the 2012 Budget allocated RM2.11 billion specifically for programmes to empower women. The details of such initiatives have been made public.

11. Last month, the Cabinet approved the setting up of a Woman Leadership Chair to boost women’s participation in this country’s development. The Chair, to be set up at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) will nurture leadership qualities amongst women in this country.

12. In addition, I was briefed that as at 31 December 2011, a total of 3,440 applications from women-owned companies were approved amounting to RM179.07 million for various types of grants and soft loan schemes under the Special Assistance Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs under SME Corp. This approval recorded an 81% success rate from the total number of applications.

13. The formation of the Panel of Women Entrepreneurs under SME Corp is another step forward for women in Malaysia. This panel’s task is to advise and recommend improvements to current programmes designed for women entrepreneurs carried out by various Govt. ministries or agencies. Among notable programmes of this panel include:

· The National Women Convention held in 2007 and 2009 which was participated by more than 800 participants respectively;

· The National Women Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 and 2009 that provides recognition to the achievements of women entrepreneurs;

· The Directory of Women Entrepreneurs in 2008;

· Outreach programmes such as talks with business personalities and regional workshops for women entrepreneurs.

· The Annual Women Entrepreneurs Luncheon that promotes networking.

14. For women entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in the international market, MATRADE is well-positioned to facilitate export opportunities for them mainly through their programme called Women Exporters Development Programme (WEDP). WEDP can help women SMEs to develop the necessary skills and acquire knowledge to penetrate overseas markets. At present, 71 women-owned companies have been assisted since 2005 to venture abroad.

15. Cyberspace is a truly globalized business platform. For your information, SME Corp. has also engaged the online community to participate in this Hi-Tea. I am told that participations from Yayasan Keusahawanan Sosial (YKS) with its online marketing portal, eMak and also e-Entrepreneurs Women Association Malaysia (eWA) are with us today. Thank you very much for your support.

Cherished participants,

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, the Indian-born American CEO of PepsiCo has this advice which I believe holds true regardless of gender. She said “Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.

16.And before I end my short speech, I would like to once again commend SME Corp for putting together today’s event. I hope that all of you will benefit from this and encourage other women leaders to join in. I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

Thank you.

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