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Looking for growth

   
Tan Sri Francis Yeoh ...'If you have a fresh and good policy, then the valuation of your street will go up. The Government must play a softer hand if it seriously wants the private enterprises to participate. It should skew a bit more for the private enterprise... this is where the grey area is.'

The Star, April 3, 2010

MORE often than not, issues touching on low wages, global competitiveness, equal opportunities, public sector crowding out the private sector and wooing talent, are likely to get Malaysiaís captains of industries impassioned. Itís easy to appreciate why. These are clearly matters that the administration seriously needs to address if it is committed to achieving the aspirations that the New Economic Model (NEM) so far seems to have promised.

By deputy news editor Jagdev Singh Sidhu
StarBizWeek

StarBizWeek: The Prime Minister revealed several key strategic thrusts for the NEM today. What are your views?

Yeoh (FY): The Prime Minister (PM) is actually encouraging Malaysian companies to push for world excellence. His announcement is about acknowledging global champion. Thatís a fresh start from the PMís point of view.

Itís like the Olympics Ė itís a game except that this one is a brutal game. If you lose, you lose jobs. So, itís a serious matter.

I think we should take advantage of the entrepreneurial spirit, the Malaysia Inc style. Thatís a good thing. This means encouraging more companies to understand global competition.

Places like Singapore or Hong Kong or elsewhere, where the rule of law of transparency is the way of life, you can go there and compete. Thereís no modicum of any system of political connection or cronyism. We can do well in these environments.

One of the things that I find fascinating is that the PM is encouraging the use of broadband. It is very important to move forward in this aspect.

A 10% increase in broadband penetration increases gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.3%, at least. Our broadband penetration is only 25% . If we move it to 75% , we would have 6.6% increase in GDP.

We would be able to have a sustainable new economy of knowledge workers in that direction. We will be able to produce our own little Googles and Alibaba.coms. This is one area that we can have a niche.

Because of this government initiative, which by the way, makes Malaysia the only country in the world that is providing 4G spectrum nationwide, we can attract talent including people like my CEO who is American and who has nine patents under his cap and 21 pending. This has also attracted many Indians and Chinese to work here. All of them are working to launch this 4G spectrum. So thatís a reverse brain drain. Malaysians in Silicon Valley are coming back to work here.

They cannot believe the Government is allowing private sector to do this 4G. Many nations donít do that because incumbents are involved in cables. Very few nations are baggage-free to push this 4G spectrum as they somehow have vested interest in existing telcos.

This country can get its act together and push the 4G spectrum. So, Iíd like to applaud that.

When all these become a way of life, the 3G guys will have to go 4G as well. This will push the penetration to 75% quite quickly.





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