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Richard Branson arrived in KL today for an investment conference and when asked on how Malaysia could attract more FDIs, his answer in a nutshell: privatise our GLCs, increase competition and stop the political parade (Anwar’s sodomy II case).

The government in power could not possibly do this nor would our opposition headed by PKR / PAS. We are facing the dilemma of racial balance in terms of economy. What would happen to the bumis if GLCs are made private? The bumis equity would be almost diminished. Why? GLCs are what makes the bumi companies empowered through projects.

This is a political issue, not an economics issue in it’s entirety.

The issue to be solved here politically is how to make bumis equity (not stock market bullshit equity, real equity in terms of personal networth) increase while at the same time realise what Richard Branson mentioned?

The Economics Transformation Programme (ETP) and the establishment of the Equinas is a good step. My question here would be “how many bumis really understand how to tap into these opportunities, secure investors and grow them?”. A good indicator is to ask public uni students and I’m sure you will get quite a disappointing answer in terms of ignorance.

Government should not govern by mere policies to protect the bumis equity but grow it through “direction pointing” to the bumis in raising and maintaining money. It will only be when signifcant amount of bumis who are literate financially, can we induce free market competition as they themselves, would demand for it. The key here is not for government to guide them, but to be the facilitator in matching successful businessman with those who wants to be in business. Knowledge transferred is an equity forever owned. Only then, would we have a competitive Malaysia.

Little napoleons in supply chain could now be eliminated through the advancement of globalisation. That is something to be understood. Gone are the days when just a particular “race” could dominate an industry.

Economy is made to grow bigger and bigger. Trust the economists (Ibn Khaldun, Keynes, Hayek) as it is true. The pie is big enough for everyone when it is growing.

Let promoted industries secure investors globally and let them compete on a global scale. For Malaysia’s diversity is her strength in terms of economic power.

Empower the bumis through inspiration, knowledge , experience and team effort. Not mere policies and “memanjakan”. It takes time but it is worth doing to solve the political dilemma.

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