Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB) has allocated RM75 million (S$29 million) to support Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the automotive industry over the next five years.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the industry created 550,000 jobs and contributed 3.2 per cent to the gross domestic product with exports totalling RM5.3 billion last year.
The industry was expected to grow 10 per cent by 2020, Najib said after launching the PUNB Auto Forum 2014 yesterday.
"As such, the government will work hard to ensure the right steps are taken in this sector, be it at the production or services stage, as we believe that it is an industry with a bright future and lucrative returns."
Najib said as of last month, PUNB created more than 590 automotive businesses for 671 Bumiputera entrepreneurs, with the total value of approved projects standing at RM157 million.
The industry, he said, would continue to receive government support through PUNB's collaborations with the Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit, Economic Planning Unit, Malaysia Automotive Institute and other government agencies.
PUNB chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the National Entrepreneur Development Office had allocated RM22 million to develop 95 more automotive-based companies and businesses this year.
He said next year, PUNB aimed to attract 20 per cent more entrepreneurs to the sector, including Bumiputera businesses, as just 10 per cent of the 35,000 independent automotive workshops in the country were Bumiputera-owned.
Later, at the 2014 National Youth Awards, Najib outlined six basic criteria youth must possess to emerge as future leaders.
He said this included knowledge and skills because to be successful, youth should be creative, innovative and produce intellectual capital in the form of ideas, creativity and innovation.
"We need youth who are entrepreneurial in nature because it is important to compete and to create more job opportunities."
Najib said moderation or wasatiyyah was another trait that would deter youth from practising extremism in their ideas and way of thinking.
"Youth must also avoid getting trapped in liberalism or pluralism."
Najib also announced a RM1.5 million allocation to the Malaysian Youth Council to set up the ASEAN Community secretariat. The allocation will be made through the Youth and Sports Ministry.