Tuesday, 6 March 2012

'Malaysia needs to differentiate itself from others'

from Business Times

Then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew told the city state's 5,000 manufacturers to move up the value-added chain. "He gave incentives and the manufacturers started producing high-value added goods," said Vietor, who included a chapter on Singapore Inc in his book. Vietor, who will be giving a public lecture this afternoon on "How Countries Compete" at UTM's Jalan Semarak campus, here, said Malaysia could not hope to compete on cost with the likes of China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia. "Even the US cannot compete with China in this respect. What Malaysia needs is to be different and more focused, such as producing branded or high-quality goods," he said, Malaysia also needs to address one of its biggest problems, which is too much saving and too little investment. With investment and savings rate at 22 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, Malaysia has a macro-economic problem. "How can you grow if you are not investing? Compare this with China and Singapore where their savings are high but their investments are high, too. "I have asked Malaysians why they are not investing and many said they had nothing to invest in or there were not enough opportunities," he told Business Times yesterday. However, this is expected to change with the new approaches developed under the New Economic Model, which was introduced in 2009 to improve productivity and encourage creativity. In fact, many of the initiatives announced by Najib could "unstuck" Malaysia from the middle-income trap. Among these are moving investment and exports up the value chain, stimulating domestic innovation and research and development, continuing investment in infrastructure, reducing regulatory barriers to doing business and enhancing labour skills in needed categories. Malaysian firms, he said, should also be less risk adverse. "In the US, individuals and firms take more risk. If they go bust, they will pick themselves up and start anew," said Vietor, who wants to see more venture capital initiatives to help individuals start up and grow their businesses. By Khaidir A Majid

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