Creation of Bumiputera entrepreneurs a must, says Saifuddin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — In empowering Bumiputeras’ participation in the business sector, the creation of a “community of Bumiputera entrepreneurs” is a must, with special focus extended to start-up companies.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, the newly elected Chief Executive Officer of Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), said the community must be led by entrepreneurs, not just ordinary officials to ensure its effectiveness.

“Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the current chambers or business organisations. We need to empower the young entrepreneurs or start-ups to group together and form new “communities” among them,” he told Bernama.

The GMM is a centre of first resort in the dissemination of information on the concept of moderation in combating the scourge of extremism in five broad areas.

The areas are peaceful co-existence, democracy and rule of law, finance, education and conflict resolution.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced yesterday five thrusts to bolster Bumiputeras’ participation in the country’s economy.

Among the thrusts are the soon-to-be-established Bumiputera Economic Council (MEB) which will chaired by Najib.

The MEB, which will replace the Bumiputera Agenda Action Council, will implement five main strategies as a continuation of the implementation of the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda.

However, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the government should concentrate on creating a policy environment that could create and increase wealth for everyone.

IDEAS is a think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges.

Wan Saiful said the emphasis on having Bumiputeras becoming managers was a good move but “is still about creating more Bumiputera employees.”

“What we should focus on is to create Bumiputera entrepreneurs who do not have to depend on government protection.

“This is true entrepreneurship and this should be our focus,” he told Bernama.

He stressed the importance for the government to consistently look for ways to open up trade channels with other countries so that Bumiputera entrepreneurs could explore new markets.

“We have good people with brilliant ideas. With the correct policy environment, I am confident our Bumiputera entrepreneurs can compete and succeed globally,” he said.

Wan Saiful said the government was on the right track by pursuing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

“The government needs to be consistent and persistent so that they can overcome resistance from parties with vested interest who are scared of open competition,” he added.

Saifuddin said intra-equality among Bumiputeras should be avoided from happening and asked the government to facilitate growth in sectors that affected Bumiputera minorities.

“Agriculture is the sector that should be emphasised. We should continue modernising the agriculture sector and, most importantly, motivate the youths to venture in this sector,” he said.

In strengthening Bumiputera equity ownership in the corporate sector, Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, announced that Amanah Saham Bumiputera 2 would be launched by Permodalan Nasional Bhd, with an injection of 10 billion units of shares.

He also said Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas), on its part, will be given the responsibility of taking over the role of spearheading the “Skim Jejak Jaya Bumiputera” programme.

The programme will be transformed through the management equity and skills to guide Bumiputera companies for listing on Bursa Malaysia.

The Bumiputera corporate company equity rate had also gone up to 23.5 per cent in 2011 from only 2.4 per cent in the 1970s.

The government aimed for 30 per cent equity ownership by Bumiputeras by 2020 in line with the objective to transform Malaysia into an advanced nation.

“The target is quite ambitious, given the status of Bumiputera equity holdings today and the short period of time to realise the objectives,” he said.  “It’s workable provided the policy was embraced by all stakeholders and was implemented by a team of people who are really passionate, committed and professional, not by any officials or retired personalities,” added Saifuddin, who was the former deputy minister of higher education.  

Wan Saiful said concrete actions must be truly created and shared by everyone rather than focusing on the 30 per cent target.

“If the plans are implemented properly, I am sure it can be achieved on time. It will be challenging but it all depends on the implementation,” he added. — Bernama

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