Alive But Not Well, The State of Penang's SMEs


Penang is caught in a new industrial climate that requires that it draws on its impressive past to meet global challenges. There is no reason why our SMEs cannot keep up with the innovations that MNCs are making, if governments and other actors stay focused.

Plenty has been written about Malaysia being locked inside the so called middle income trap. The view is that the country is too expensive to effectively compete with low cost countries and lacks sufficient technological sophistication to beat competitors from more developed economies. The often prescribed answer is for Malaysia to innovate itself out of this situation. The problem with such high level advice although absolutely correct means little to the people who have to do the actual innovating.

High technology came to Penang over 40 years ago and over time, Penang’s business culture has gradually transformed itself from doing trading to one that is heavily influenced by technology and science.

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