Malaysian businesses cautiously proactive in 2020

PETALING JAYA (Bernama) – About 74 per cent of business leaders in Malaysia are “cautiously proactive” of their company’s prospects next year.

This is despite external concerns such as the United States (US)-China trade war, Brexit and rapid diffusion of new technologies, according to a survey by Monash Malaysia R&D Sdn Bhd (MMR&D).

MMR&D chief executive officer Professor Mahendhiran Nair said the term refers to the many challenges faced by businesses unsure of their next move, yet aware that they have to take proactive measures to sustain themselves and stay competitive in the domestic, regional or global market.

“They are concerned about the continuous emergence of disruptive technologies that threaten their position in the market, hence they are taking steps such as adopting new technologies and developing new business models to mitigate these risks and uncertainties,” he said while presenting the results of the Malaysian Business Sentiment Survey 2019/2020 yesterday.

Mahendhiran said 69 per cent of the survey respondents believe that business conditions will improve next year if they implement strategies to enhance their innovative capabilities, utilising the best talents and leadership style.

“This positivity also stems from Malaysia being partly sheltered from current global economic headwinds, and Southeast Asia’s unique position which allows it to benefit from the escalating trade war between the US and China. The main concerns plaguing the local market are the weakening ringgit, the cost of doing business and increasing competition,” said Mahendhiran.

The survey also showed that 27 per cent of respondents are prioritising new growth strategies for 2020 and 35 per cent are focussing on current products while keeping an eye out for new opportunities.

It also revealed that the adoption of the Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies has also increased. Additionally, 78 per cent of business leaders placed diversity and providing equal opportunities as top priorities in organisations.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of the respondents estimated that there will be higher revenue growth over the next 12 months.

“In the meantime, we think the government has put in a lot effort to create the awareness on I4.0, and the industries, including government-linked companies, have to work together with professional bodies, chambers of commerce and associations to develop new technologies that are relevant to the local industries.

“If we don’t do it, it will be forged by the multinational companies. So we need to be on the frontline and produce better technology in our core economic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries and palm oil,” he added.