: The opening of a business centre for ICT products like the Mara Digital Mall will be expanded nationwide as a new benchmark for the participation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the industry.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the ministry had identified suitable locations for the purpose in Johor, Melaka, Terenggganu and Kelantan.
"On Oct 26, another Mara Digital mall will open in Kuantan, Pahang. We are also in discussion to achieve the one-state-one-Mara Digital mall target," he told reporters after the official launch of the Mara Digital Ipoh here, Thursday.
The new digital mall here, which has five concept shops and 15 kiosks, is the third in its series after those in Menara Mara in Kuala Lumpur, and in Anggerik Mall, Shah Alam.
Ismail Sabri said the opening of the new Mara Digital Mall was aimed at producing more Bumiputera ICT entrepreneurs as there was a huge potential for ICT market now and in the future.
"In 2015, sales of mobile phones and computers alone had reached RM8.74 billion and had risen to RM9.61 billion in 2016. Now, the sales had reached RM10.6 billion. With this annual increase, I'm confident that it will continue to be on the rise.
"There are 11 million ICT product users in Malaysia with annual growth rate of 10 per cent. So the demands for mobile phones, computers and other gadgets will also increase," he said, adding that 62 per cent of the 11 million users were Malays.
Ismail Sabri said it was Mara's responsibility to develop and help Bumiputera entrepreneurs, and it was not Mara's intention to compete with anyone or any ICT sales centre.
"I just hope that the opening of the Mara Digital Ipoh will give the users the opportunity to choose. Not to compete, but only to provide them the alternatives," he said.
The minister said a committee comprising representatives from the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry had been set up to ensure the authenticity of the ICT products sold at each Digital Mall.
In conjunction of the new opening, Ismail Sabri also announced six months' rent-free period for all Bumiputera entrepreneurs at the mall.