SMEs in Malaysia will, for the first time, enjoy government loans to upgrade technology to boost production.
The funds, announced in the 2018 budget, will help manufacturing industries such as furniture production purchase automatic solutions for their business.
President of the Malaysian Furniture Council, Chua Chun Chai, welcomed this initiative saying the extra income will enable the furniture sector to circumvent labour shortage in the factories.
Many furniture factories are keen to automate production to minimise dependence on foreign workers and improve productivity, Chua said. This would allow Malaysian exporters to be better equipped to compete with exporters from China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Koh Choon Chai, president of the Johor Furniture Association, said furniture manufacturers are currently struggling to meet shipment deadlines due to the labour crunch.