The ‘OHSEM’ Digital Advertising Fund initiative is helpful for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but an appropriate discounted rate should be considered for entrepreneurs in Sabah and Sarawak.
Sabah Assistant Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship, Datuk Andy Muhammad Suryady Bandy, said this was necessary to better address the condition of SME entrepreneurs in the state who were still lagging in terms of income.
“Many SMEs in Sabah are still unable to use paid advertisements. As an alternative, they would rather use social media to promote their products,” he told Bernama today.
Therefore, he hoped the federal government could consider offering the initiative based on the capabilities of SME entrepreneurs in Sabah so that it could be enjoyed by all entrepreneurs across the country and no one would be left behind.
Yesterday, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil launched the OHSEM Digital Advertising Fund worth RM21 million as part of an initiative to encourage SME entrepreneurs to advertise through local content platforms.
Through the initiative, entrepreneurs only have to pay RM1,000, a discount of more than 85 per cent, compared to RM8,000 to reach an audience of 100,000, and is limited to the first 1,000 applicants.
SME Association of Sabah Founding President Prof Datuk Foo Ngee Kee said the discount rate offered was more suitable for entrepreneurs with large capital, such as those in the peninsula.
“Many SME entrepreneurs in Sabah are still struggling to increase their income after the COVID-19 pandemic, and they prefer to use social media like Facebook to advertise their products for free,” he said.
On social media advertising, Foo said the Sabah Community SME Group Facebook page, established two years ago, now has more than 3,000 followers and allows entrepreneurs to advertise their business whenever and wherever they are without any payment.
“They (SME entrepreneurs) choose social media because it involves zero cost, and they can post something every day or every week, and they can also make videos because people prefer to watch videos with music in the background,” he said.
In Sibu, Sarawak, local entrepreneur Dr Gregory Hii Sui Cheng said advertising through premium content platforms such as newspapers and online advertising would help entrepreneurs reach their target audience compared to traditional advertising methods.
“I encourage entrepreneurs in Sarawak to apply for the subsidies as soon as possible and learn from the experience to better promote their products through the proposed platforms,” he said.
A contractor, Johny Sain, who lauded the initiative as a good move to boost the economy, said SMEs in Sarawak might miss the boat as the number of applicants is limited to 1,000.
“This is really a good thing for SME entrepreneurs, but if the number of applicants is limited, what is the chance for us in Sarawak to get them? We hope the initiative can be run annually with some quota from the government so that many entrepreneurs can benefit,” he said.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency