Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) are increasingly leveraging on platforms such as Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) to access the growing opportunities in the global halal market. The 18th edition of the MIHAS 2022, which was launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob today, strongly reflected this growing trend. MIHAS 2022, which is taking place at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) runs from 7 -10 September 2022.
According to the CEO of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) Datuk Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz, there has been a significant rise in the number of Malaysian exhibitors including MSMEs participating in MIHAS since it was first organised in 2004. ‘For example, this year there was a year-on-year rise of 326.4 per cent of local exhibitors participating in MIHAS 2022,’ he said, adding that most of these local exhibitors were MSMEs. Furthermore, many were also relatively younger entrepreneurs. A case in point is the profile of exhibitors in the Pahang State pavilion whereby all the 15 exhibitors were less than 45 years old.
YB Datuk Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), is confident that these and other programmes that MATRADE has carried out over the years has and will continue to assist more Halal-certified Malaysian companies to access the growing global Halal markets. For example, the Halal market in the ASEAN region alone is estimated to be worth US$900 billion, demonstrating the potential market share that Malaysian companies can gain as producers of Halal products and services.
Currently, more than 8,000 companies in Malaysia are recognised and certified as Halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). However, it is estimated only 20 per cent are currently exporting. According to the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), SMEs are expected to contribute 45 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product and 25 per cent to total exports by 2025.
Pegged as the world’s largest Halal trade event, MIHAS 2022 which carries the theme ‘Diversifying Halal Possibilities’ is on target to achieve RM1.9 billion in sales and as such play its part in supporting the 12MP export target by increasing the number of Malaysian MSMEs expanding their footprint into the global halal market.
The transformation of MSMEs in becoming more conscious about export opportunities can be attributed to various factors, including the different types of programmes that MATRADE has organised over the years such as MIHAS. ‘We are constantly innovating to keep up the growing trends and expectations. For example, last year MATRADE was organised in a completely virtual mode. This year it was organised in a hybrid mode,’ pointed Datuk Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz. The approach enables cross border trade deals to continue between local exporters and international buyers with flexibility, in spite of geographic and time zone differences.
MATRADE’s constant use of new innovative methods such as virtual business matchings as well as International Sourcing Programmes (INSP) have all played its part to spur the increasing number of Malaysian MSMEs exploring the global Halal market.
Mirroring the nation’s digitalisation agenda in the trade sphere, the Prime Minister also launched the MATRADE Digital Learning (MDL) right after officiating MIHAS 2022. MDL is a virtual learning platform dedicated to improve the knowledge and skills of Malaysian companies by providing them with holistic content on exports related topics. The content for MDL was developed partly through a collaboration with Google Malaysia and contains 13 highly industry-relevant modules.
The 18th edition of MIHAS is supported by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC). It highlights 13 halal clusters including food and beverage, services & enablers, cosmetics and personal care, modest fashion, food technology, pharmaceuticals, media and recreation, e-commerce, Islamic finance, Muslim-friendly travel, franchise, education, and MIHAS’s newest cluster to be introduced this year, Islamic arts and crafts.