Dr. Abdul Latiff (second right) and State Assemblyman for Demak Laut Dr. Hazland Abang Hipni (second left) being briefed by Sophia Taha Holdings Sdn. Bhd. (STHSB) director Ismaili Liu Bujang Liu (right) on his visit to STHSB factory. On the left is Dayang Sophia.Photo: Ramidi Subari
BY NATASHA JEE AND VOON YIH BOON

KUCHING: The Rural Development Ministry will find ways to further assist Bumiputera entrepreneurs in Sarawak to expand their businesses.

Its minister, Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said during his visit to a Kuching based manufacturing company, Sophia Taha Holdings Sdn Bhd (STHSB), the ministry had learnt about the obstacles faced by Bumiputera manufacturers here.

“This morning, we are here together with Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail to visit several Bumiputera companies and to see how we can provide our assistance,” he told a press conference after visiting STHSB at Demak Laut Industrial Park at Jalan Bako today.

He said the company’s products were very good as it had obtained halal certification and the products were exported to Japan.

“And now, we want to see how the company can further promote its products and expand its business,” he said.

Abdul Latiff said the ministry could help in the digital marketing and packaging of local products here so that they could reach wider markets.

Later, the minister continued his visit to LeniSpice Sdn. Bhd which specialised in spice pastes at Jalan Kampung Bako, and utilities infrastructure company, Weidasar Sdn Bhd at Jalan Demak Indah.

STHSB was incorporated in 2009. It currently runs Sarawak’s first Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Cosmetic factory from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division (NPRA) in Sarawak.

Besides specialising in manufacturing its own home grown brands, it also provides contract manufacturing or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and Original Design manufacturing (ODM) services to local entrepreneurs.

According to a press statement released by the company, STHSB is optimistic that the number of personal brand entrepreneurs using its OEM and ODM services is increasing due to the trend for  health and beauty products following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company started in 2014 as a manufacturer of stingless bee honey or ‘kelulut’ honey-based products before expanding its business to the manufacturing of beauty and health products.

STHSB managing director, Dayang Sophia Abang Taha, said members of the public were now concerned about their health and this had led to the increasing demand for health products.

“I also hope that more parties, especially government agencies, will support these local products.

“Support and assistance from government agencies will definitely boost the performance of local entrepreneurs in producing quality local products,” she added.