SAMARKAND, May 19 — Efforts to assist small and medium-sized Malaysian companies in expanding their overseas market penetration must be enhanced to put them in a more favourable position, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said it is vital to assist these companies in developing a strong network with their overseas counterparts to market their products.

“Such networks are needed for small companies with capital of perhaps just tens of millions of ringgit. Job and product marketing networks are important. For halal products, (the capital) obviously won’t reach hundreds of millions (for a small company) but this is important in terms of lifting the position of the small and medium-sized companies.

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“(Medium-sized companies in terms of retail chain or product sales) obviously would not (have sales) worth billions of ringgit but (such assistance) will provide a critical network for small and medium-sized companies in Malaysia,” he told the Malaysian media here at the end of his official visit to Uzbekistan today.

He said the Uzbekistan-Malaysia High Level Business Forum at the Samarkand Silk Road Complex here on Saturday, which was attended by Anwar and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev, received an exceptionally strong reception from Malaysian and Uzbek companies.

“(The attendance) reached 200 companies including major companes owned either by the government or the private sector. It is estimated that trade commitments worth RM710 million were achieved at the forum.

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“However, I expect that discussions among them (the companies) in one or two days will lead to a significant increase. It is just that they have not signed (collaboration agreements) so we have not announced it,” he added.

In 2023, Malaysia recorded bilateral trade with Uzbekistan totalling RM451.1 million (US$94.03 million), with exports to the Central Asian country amounting to RM449 million and imports worth RM1.99 million.

Anwar arrived in Tashkent on Friday to kick off a three-day official visit to Uzbekistan.

On the first day in the capital of Uzbekistan, Amwar paid a courtesy call on Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and had a meeting that lasted more than an hour with him.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed relations between Malaysia and Uzbekistan, and explored potential areas of cooperation.

Uzbekistan is the last stop of Anwar’s official visit to Central Asia spanning three countries. Prior to this, the Prime Minister visited the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan. — Bernama