Friday, April 24, 2009

Malaysia's 3 Biggest Under-Leveraged Business Factors

Over the years, Malaysia has managed to carve out a respectable economy among the emerging markets. Nevertheless, Malaysia could be so much more, so very much more than where we are now. Let me just cit the THREE major business factors that have been conveniently swept under the carpet, ignored, not discussed, not leveraged on, not expanded on, etc. These 3 factors are hugely important and would have allowed Malaysia to be a few notches higher the overall scheme of things. Are we too shay, politically scared, or rather lacked the political will to maximise our potential. The three factors cannot be glossed over. They represents who we are, you cannot change that, we can only be a better country and better citizens once we come to an acceptance of who we are, where we are in the world.

The 3 Biggest Under-Leveraged Business Factors For Malaysia:

1) Most-Neutral/Moderate Muslim Country - While that has been brought more to the forefront over the last 5 years, especially in the areas of Islamic finance and Islamic banking, we need not be shy about the fact that Malaysia is regarded as being the most neutral/moderate Muslim country. Being in that category allows us natural benefits, many countries want us to be engaged in talks and as the link to the Muslim world. Being pragmatic, we need to be clearer of where we are and don't be shy about our links.

2) Overseas Chinese - Name me the country which has the most overseas Chinese who have become citizens of that country. (Take Taiwan out of the equation, Taiwan doesn't count). Its Malaysia.

3) Overseas Indians - Name me the country which has the most overseas Indians who have become citizens of that country. Its Malaysia.

China and India have been growing in their economic might for the last 10 years. We only have Khazanah opening its Beijing office, LAST YEAR!!!!??? In Malaysia, we have the BIGGEST population among its citizen that have ancestors who have come from China and India - and we still speak the languages there. The natural connection should have allowed Malaysian companies and businesses to leverage on those two factors to greater business ties. Why didn't that happen? Does it seems to be "unpatriotic" to leverage on our backgrounds to do business with China and India? That shouldn't be the case, but we rarely dare to talk about these issues. We need to be clear about our identity, no fellow Malaysians should question our Malaysian-ness. Once we have got past that, where our citizenry and loyalty lies, only then can we leverage on our common strengths and advantages without fear or favour.

Its still not too late.

Swifz has alerted me to a more correct classification of overseas Chinese and overseas Indian. I stand corrected but I think my points are still valid. Thanks for the correction.

Overseas Chinese

Minority populations
Indonesia 7,776,000
Thailand 7,123,000
Malaysia 6,324,000
United States 3,858,000
Majority populations

Singapore 3,496,710

Overseas Indians

Major ethnic group

Nepal 4,000,000
Malaysia 2,100,000
Myanmar 2,000,000
Saudi Arabia 1,500,000

Minor ethnic group

United States 3,000,000
United Kingdom 1,600,000
South Africa 1,160,000

p/s photos: Eri Otoguro


swifz said...

Point 2 and 3 are wrong if u believe in Wiki.

Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah bin Sanusi said...

Sorry, but I disagree that we have not been leveraging on these 3 factors over the years. If anything, I'd say we've been progrssively leveraging on at least the first 2 since at least the 80's and if you read back to Tunku Abdul Rahman's era, he'd been leveraging the moderate Muslim position during his time.

I'd put aside the last 5 years, but the bamboo network has been doing wonders for Malaysia ever since the Chinese were encouraged to expand their horizons following Tun Dr M's famous speech to the community when he took over in 1981. If there was any reason for a delay in growth, it's because we had to wait for China and India to come out of their shells.

It has always been a shame though that the Indians are quite sectarian even when they migrate. Else, we may have been able to leverage on that more effectively all these years...

Agree though if you feel more aggression is meritted... just as long as the politicians do not start forgetting about the social contract...

Roden said...

hmm..according to wiki, point 2 & 3 may be wrong. In reality, think about it, how many Indonesia or Thai read and write chinese? Their percentage is so insignificant, whereas most Malaysia chinese master mandarin well, quite large proportion even proficient in mandarin. the Language we speak or write has reflect our thinking and culture which accumulated probably over thousand years. I think we still have better chance than other countries. Same to Indian, I wonder how 2nd generation Indian in US can speak their mother tounge.

Butt said...

My comments here is not be racist. I think there's a lot of insecurity in the Malays that if they promote Malaysian Chinese or Indians will make Malaysia less Malay. One fine example is out tourism promotions and a lot of time the focus is on Malay culture. There's more than Malay culture here. There's also Iban, Kadazan, etc. This mentality is the very reason why the point 2 and 3 are not leveraged on, which is very sad. I think Malaysia is way too late in China. Singapore has a rock solid platform and position in China. Their G to G relationship is rock solid and the Chinese do look up to Singapore for improvements as well. Not sure about India.

And to swifz, even if point 2 and 3 is not accurate, its still a very useful leverage.

BTW, this are my observations in Shanghai and the tourisms promotions and ads overseas.

WY said...

Hi Dali..

I share the same view as you.
We should leverage on our multi-ethnic connections and multilingual capabilities.

Malay: Islamic countries, Indonesia etc..

Chinese: China/Taiwan/HK

Indian: India

Chinese independent school students have connections all over the world. Added that with govt-sponsored scholarship students and private students, we have a strong potential to tap.

Added that with network effect, cultural diversity (for tourism, MICE etc..), rich commodity resources (hub for biofuels, carbon credits, commodity trading).. We can be a greater success..

Tony said...

Hmm..most neutral (I suppose you mean moderate) Muslim country: Indonesia? Turkey? Lebanon?

Indians: Malaysia Indians have very little economic clout, exception: AK and TF and a few others. British and USA Indians probably have many times more leverage despite their lesser numbers.

solomon said...

WE are what we are today, but if we don't improvise we will still be the same the next 5-10 years.

I do agree in general on the human factors which are the most important in this biz era. In Chinese, it is called "Guan Xi". Not sure what is term in hindu/tamil (maybe someone can chip in). Our country is something like Turkey for Asia and Europe for this region.

Hope that "1Malaysia" spirits will triumph over the political / human ego...we shd charge ahead now or forever we would not.

WeBViDeOKLiP said...

rubbish entry

Salvatore_Dali said...

swifz, thanks n made clarifications in post

akhramsyah, i guess its a matter of degree... i mean why did khazanah only open a beijing office last year????... when the index there reached an all time high???? why did singapore manage to get the smaller chinese companies to list in sing exchange, years ago???

i dont mind brickbats, but saying its rubbish entry is like me calling u an asshole... both would be better if accompanies with reasoning or else we r both just idiots

No Regret said...

I agree It is not too late!
Not that Malaysia leaders did not try but they did not try hard enough!!
Or we should ask ourselves, what advantage does malaysia have to attract them(china and india) to come and do business..u know I do have a feeling that malaysia govt have this mentality to all FDI..want to invest malaysia,invest! if not too bad,get lost..nothing I can do..
Singapore would said Why not and how can I improved..
Look at singapore EDB and their network!! they knew what they want 30 yrs ago...what did malaysia do 30 yrs ago...sleeping at sofa??