BUSINESS

JOURNEY TO PRODUCE BUMIPUTERA ENTREPRENEURS

24/05/2024 06:18 PM

By Rosemarie Khoo Mohd Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- The move to realign the roles of three government agencies will kickstart the active participation of bumiputeras in economic sectors under a thorough ecosystem.

While Yayasan Peneraju (YP), Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (TERAJU), and Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) are mandated under the Ministry of Economy to strengthen and deliver the bumiputera agenda, support from the corporate sector is needed.

To this end, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) is ready to facilitate TERAJU’s role as a 'super-scaler' in driving the growth of bumiputera companies to a higher and more competitive level in the global arena.

MIER would support, among others, bumiputera corporate depositories, consultations and advisory services.

"Our role in developing quality bumiputera entrepreneurs is through research collaboration focusing on companies, industries, sectors and policies.

"There will also be data sharing to enhance the richness and quality of our analysis, public discourse to facilitate meaningful connections and knowledge exchange opportunities, as well as resource sharing," MIER told Bernama.

 

REALIGNMENT TO ENSURE GREATER IMPACT

 

Meanwhile, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) director of strategy and partnerships, Eizaz Azhar, said it is important for the realignment to take place as there is a significant overlap of functions and strategies of both state and federal agencies.

"Thus, a comprehensive alignment of the direction will enable the full realisation of the vision in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

"The issue of equity ownership has already been answered in previous iterations of the bumiputera development agenda, and now it is time to develop high-impact skill sets to create a more competitive workforce to support the future direction of the agenda," he said. 

Eizaz also shared that as the government has limited resources and time to make this a success, it should look at examples of other countries that ventured into new territory and learn from their successes. 

For example, India jump-started its tech sector talent development in the 1990s through a tunnel vision approach, making strategic investments in technical education and skill development to create a highly skilled information technology (IT) workforce. 

"As a result, we see many Indians as chief executive officers (CEOs) of global tech companies like Microsoft and Google, a testament to the country’s ability to leverage internal strengths and work together closely with market forces and trends," he said. 

 

REDUCE BUREAUCRACY, CREATING THE RIGHT MINDSET

 

Meanwhile, Bank Muamalat Malaysia chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the realignment of the three bumiputera-mandated agencies is a sensible move as it could reduce bureaucracy and red tape while improving the coordination of the agencies.

He said revisiting the roles and objectives of the three agencies would help to provide more clarity on the transition and transformation concerning the journey of bumiputera entrepreneurship.

"These three agencies will reinforce the experience of bumiputeras who are venturing into business in a more conducive way.

"With the government's initiative to empower and facilitate bumiputera entrepreneurs through the smart partnership with the private sector, we are looking at the entrepreneurial ecosystem," he told Bernama.

Mohd Afzanizam added that the target outlined for each agency to achieve their respective outcomes by 2030 can be reached as long as it recognises the requirements and the right skill sets.

"More important is the risk appetite. Typically, entrepreneurs are risk-takers, and their view of the world differs from the average person.

"So we need to identify and make sure who will be the talents we can groom and become effective entrepreneurs," he said.

On the other hand, Mohd Afzanizam said those who could not be entrepreneurs could complement them by becoming efficient employees who assist in business ventures.

"Above all, both categories need to have the right mindset as this would pivot on productivity.

"Thus, we need to have this firm mindset and worldview so that any timeline we put forward can be determined whether it is realistic or otherwise," he said.

 Mohd Afzanizam also cautioned all stakeholders to be mindful of the upcoming speed bumps along the timeline from a macro and geopolitical perspective and the volatility of the financial markets, which could affect the business momentum.

Eizaz commented that to achieve success, the government must align itself with the market forces, as going against it will result in additional spending of resources to remain competitive and sustainable. 

"They (government) must be very strategic with how resources are used and must be deployed with a clear alignment to market trends and consumer demand," he added. 

 

CHALLENGES TO NURTURE BUMIPUTERA TALENTS

 

Under the realignment, the government, through YP, intends not only to focus on creating leaders to be value creators but also aims to create a class of bumiputera investors that would start their own firms and become general partners. 

According to YP CEO Ibrahim Sani, the agency would be responsible for evaluating whether its talent could be nurtured to become business leaders, professional leaders, or community leaders in the future.

Meanwhile, property investment company Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB) group managing director and CEO Mohamad Damshal Awang Damit opined that producing entrepreneurs from professionals is not easy.

"Learning and becoming an entrepreneur is not in the textbook. It cannot be put into structure, and we cannot equate professionals to entrepreneurs.

"I think YP's focus as the supplier and source of producing talents of professionals and leaders in high-technology, high-growth industries is commendable, but it may be tough to produce entrepreneurs.

"Whether they (talents) can be entrepreneurs or not, I think TERAJU should help play a bigger role in nurturing potential entrepreneurs," he said. 

Mohamad Damshal said that for professional leaders who are not entrepreneurs, the government-linked companies (GLCs) should take the opportunity to engage with them and make them leaders in their organisations, which may include technical experts such as fund managers, analysts, bankers and others.

"Nonetheless, I think the realignment of the three agencies would set a more focused pathway in the ecosystem and consequently create more resilient bumiputera companies in the future,” he added.

Mohamad Damshal said that for the corporate sector to support this initiative, private companies must first understand the realignment's details and have more conversations and discussions with various parties.

PHB is a wholly-owned operating subsidiary of Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli on Monday said the realignment initiatives of the agencies were carried out following the Mid-Term Review of the 12th Malaysia Plan (MTR 12MP), which outlined a strategy to strengthen the role of Bumiputera-mandated agencies in delivering the bumiputera agenda.

He also said the move aligns with the MADANI government's goal to empower and boost the economic participation of bumiputera in a strategic, sustainable and effective manner.

-- BERNAMA


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