Business communities have applauded the removal of the 30% bumiputra equity quota in 27 services sub-sectors, saying the new regulation will attract more investments and create a competitive business environment.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday the liberalisation, effective immediately, was aimed at creating a conducive business environment to attract more investments, bring in more professionals and technology, encourage competitiveness and create higher value employment opportunities.
He also indicated that more services sub-sectors would be liberalised progressively.
These service sectors include computer and related services, health and social services, tourism, transport, sporting and other recreational services, business services, rental and leasing services without operators, and supporting and auxiliary transport services.
RAM Holdings Bhd chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the liberalisation would lead to waves of investments into the country.
“The lifting is a great boost to foreign direct investments (FDIs) and domestic investments. It is a much-awaited move and will greatly boost the investment climate,” he told StarBiz.
AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes concurred that the lifting was a great move.
“Globalisation is here and with a liberal environment, it makes Malaysia more attractive to the world. It is yet to be seen how investors will view this but I see it as a positive step for Malaysia.
“As we further liberalise, create a more level playing field, encourage greater entrepreneurial flair and bring companies of similar nature, it can only benefit the Malaysian people,’’ Fernandes told StarBiz yesterday.
CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak hoped the Government would review the New Economic Policy (NEP) so that it would be acceptable to all Malaysians.
“I welcome this move as the present restrictions on ownership in these services sub-sectors represent some derivatives of NEP that have outlived their relevance and instead serve to impede investments and competitiveness.
“I hope the Government will embark on a holistic review of the NEP and all its instruments of implementation towards a framework for affirmative action that today’s Malaysians can accept and unite behind,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian-American Electronics Industry chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai said with this move, there would be no tie-down on certain policies in the companies involved.
“Generally, the liberalisation can attract more foreign investments to the country and bring more value to the companies involved,” he said. “However, (I am) not sure how the bumiputras feel about it.”
Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia chairman David Wong said the lifting of the 30% bumiputra quota would open more opportunities, as there would be fewer restrictions.
“It gives a boost to FDIs and opens doors for foreign companies to participate in contracts and tenders and so forth.
“It also creates healthy competition among all and there is a more level playing field. Hopefully this translates into more innovative services and cost competitiveness with more choices in the marketplace,’’ he said.
Proton Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said he hoped there would be more efficiency and those who participated in business should contribute positively.
“In the past, the bumiputras may have felt left behind, but today we must take up the challenge. Initially, not many bumiputra firms could compete, but we should revisit the policy now. Certain bumiputra companies are doing well.
“The key issue today is how to compete as an economy. We also have to take care of the feelings of others who may have felt discriminated against previously. But we should revisit any new formula that enables us as a country to move forward – ensuring justice and the ability to compete.”
Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Syed Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar said the move might not sound good at the beginning for those involved but the liberalisation would eventually help grow the country if Malaysians could work together.
“Our business involves suppliers, manufacturers and services. There will be restriction in the selection of business partners if we have the 30% bumiputra quota.
“We should think and do things as a team to go global,” he said.