Listing 1,100 capable bumi firms

(DAILY EXPRESS) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the concept of meritocracy will be practised in the agenda to assist Bumiputera entrepreneurs, and the Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju) is in the process of listing 1,100 Bumiputera companies capable of success, on the stock market.

The Government will assist the companies and the list will be announced in two-three months time, he said, while officiating the two-day convention, Empowering the New Economic Model: A Bumiputera Economic Jihad, organised by the Gagasan Badan Ekonomi Melayu (Gabem) Universiti Teknologi Mara.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the Government will assist the companies to become bigger. “If the RM100,000 turnover this year can increase to RM1 million in three years time and if only operating within the country, the companies can then expand overseas.

“This programme represents a new approach based on meritocracy among Bumiputeras with no question of cronyism but only help those who can truly succeed,” he added.

He said the switch in the approach towards assisting Bumiputera entrepreneurs based on meritocracy is seen as being better, as the previous method such as giving initial public offerings(IPO) through the Bumiputera quota, did not last long as the shares were resold on the market.

“I want to state and you should not be shocked that of the 60 billion shares distributed to Bumiputeras at one time under the IPO, only two billion is left today. Why?” he asked.

He said the Bumiputera shareholding had reduced as some investors were incapable of holding on to the shares concerned. There were some among them who sold the shares as the price increased but questioned where the profit obtained had gone.

“If we want to help Bumiputera companies, they must prove their worth as committed and hard working entrepreneurs. I say to them, it is not who you are, it is not who you know but know how,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government is identifying the potential companies to be listed but needs some assistance in fulfilling the criteria of the Securities Commission (SC), so that it can be done.

Najib also reflected on his time as the Pahang Menteri Besar when a lot of Bumiputera entrepreneurs met him, asking for his signature on project applications.

“But when investigated, they were only seeking to make a profit or were ‘rent seekers’ and those behind them were not Bumiputera entrepreneurs,” he said.

He said if Bumiputera entrepreneurs did not change their attitude and work ethics, they would not progress in business, no matter how many conventions such as this was organised.

“What we want are committed people, willing to strive to be successful, in line with the theme of this convention… meaning, not just the government helping, but all of you helping yourselves to succeed,” he added.

Najib said among the vendors to government-linked companies (GLCs) such as Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Petroliam Nasional Bhd, were those who were comfortable remaining so, not wanting to change from that status to be self-sufficient.

“Logically, if they had been vendors for five years, they should be able to stand on their own, and give other companies an opportunity to be one in turn,” he added.

Najib also said apart from Bumiputera vendor companies, Bumiputera Class F contractors should also migrate from that category to become that of a higher class and stand on their own.

However, he said there were also successful Bumiputera companies and lately, there was one which had purchased an Australian company in the oil and gas sector.

“What I would like to see is, successful Bumiputeras as big entrepreneurs, with public limited companies also having their own vendor development programme to assist other Bumiputera companies.

“This is not just to the extent of providing welfare assistance but also assisting with the birth of more Bumiputera entrepreneurs who can help other companies,” he added.

Najib said the Bumiputera entrepreneur community must not be scared of change in the global business environment.

“Instead, they need to overcome the global economic changes, which is seeing the emergence of two new powers in China and India,” he added.

Najib said he wants the Bumiputera community to be positive in undertaking change, so that when the country attains the status of a developed nation on January 1, 2020, the Malays and Bumiputeras will be also recognised as a progressive and successful race.

He said the emergence of more non-governmental organisations apart from GABEM to fight for the economy of the race was positive, providing they were on the “same ship” with the government which has a clear direction in this regard.

Touching on meritocracy, he said it is needed to encourage the culture of excellence among Malaysians but at the same time, “affirmative action” for the sidelined Bumiputera community could not ignored.

He said the status of children growing up in Kenny Hills in Kuala Lumpur was different from those in the interior in Kg Bantal, Pahang.

Also present at the event was GABEM chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Deputy Minister in the Prime Ministers Department, Datuk Ahmad Maslan.