24 companies are in various stages of being certified with the National Mark of Malaysian Brand, a label that imparts quality, excellence and distinction of products and services by local Malaysian companies. General Manager Parama Iswara Subramaniam, Senior General Manager of Management System Certification Department in SIRIM QAS International Sdh Bhd said the companies were ready to be audited. He said that the companies will have to go through thorough and stringent standard assessment processes. Speaking after launching a new website meant to provide information and updates on the Malaysian Brand certification scheme, Datuk Dr Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid, Chairman of SME Corporation Malaysia said a total of 59 companies from various industries have been certified with the mark since 2009. He added that 30 companies currently showed interest to be audited for the certification. “Through this certification, the government hopes to change the perception that SME products are inferior compared to big brands,” he said. For companies to qualify for the assessment, they have to first meet the minimum three-star rating under SME Corp’s diagnostic tool, the SME Competitiveness Rating for Enhancement (SCORE) test. The company will then be evaluated under strict standards, with auditing and monitoring measures in place to ensure adherence to the set quality standards. Upon success, the products or services carried by the company will be awarded the right to carry the Malaysian Brand. To retain this mark of excellence, periodic auditing and monitoring measures will be conducted. Mohamed said various trade promotion activities will be undertaken to promote brands that have been awarded with the National Mark and the recognition of the mark itself. The certification was developed by the government through the International Trade and Industry Ministry and SME Corp Malaysia with SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd as the certification partner.