CEO Series

Here Are 4 Key Things Our New Finance Minister Had To Say At MaGIC's GAP Cohort 2 Launch

Ever since Malaysia switched about its ruling coalition on May 9, many government-linked corporations and government agencies have been subject to reviews by those with executive power, with a few notable bodies getting shut down, among them being the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Special Affairs Council (JASA).

One particular entity that was faced with rumours of closure was the Ministry of Finance’s very own startup growth hub, the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC).

In some reports published in various local news media, it was stated that Prime Minister Mahathir had decided to also shut down MaGIC alongside other affected bodies.

However just today, fears of imminent shutdown were very likely allayed when Finance Minister YB Lim Guan Eng made an appearance at MaGIC’s launch of the second cohort of their Global Accelerator Programme (GAP).

With an opening speech and a fireside chat session, he proceeded to provide his full backing for the programme and proceeded to encourage the ecosystem to adopt a spirit of technopreneurship.

Guan Eng also went on to discuss his various other insights and views on entrepreneurship and the Malaysian business landscape, among them being:

1. Making Malaysia an entrepreneurial state.

Guan Eng talked about the importance of Malaysia becoming a collaborative entrepreneurial state in anticipation of Industry 4.0, where the principal stakeholders including both public and private sectors will collaborate and cooperate with each other.

“While we understand that it’s an open market and that it’s about survival of the fittest due to open competition, it cannot be cutthroat competition,” he said.

“We should not sacrifice the quality of products offered to the marketplace.”

He went on to mention that for entrepreneurship in Malaysia to become a truly collaborative entrepreneurial state, all parties had to understand their roles—the public sector to act as a referee and provide conducive conditions for growth, and the private sector to move things forward.

2. The government is open to ideas from the public.

When asked about how Malaysian entrepreneurs and the Malaysian public in general could play a part in moving things forward, Guan Eng encouraged all to actively engage with the government by giving them constant input via any means possible, such as email, Twitter, or online community boards.

Indicating that the new government is willing to accept innovative ideas from its people, Guan Eng used the example of the local health industry to illustrate his point.

“There are a lot of problems with our healthcare system—the entire structure is defective, and we need to improve on it,” he said. “So while we look at structural changes, you can all help by using technology to see how you can lower costs or lessen the burden.”

“For example, there are an increasing number of suicides among young people—are there any apps that can help?” he hypothesised. “Perhaps your app can save lives.”

“This is just one idea of how technology can bridge that gap.”

3. The government needs time to fulfill its promises.

Guan Eng also addressed some concerns regarding Malaysia’s financial situation and how this would end up affecting some of the promises made in Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 manifesto including The Young Entrepreneur’s Empowerment Fund that was targeted to provide RM1 billion in funding annually.

“As much as we want to implement the promises in our manifesto, we are committed but our financial situation isn’t promising, so we will do it when our financial situation is good,” he said.

“We are facing RM1 trillion debt and we’ve found ourselves short of money everywhere, so I think we need to bring some stability in our finances before implementing all these promises. We hope you will give us some time.”

4. We should use technology to ease burdens.

Finally, Guan Eng also voiced his hope that moving forward, Malaysia would also learn to become a society where classes that were in lack would be helped by the concept of “giving them fish as well as teaching them how to fish”, with technology as a focal driving point behind these efforts.

“Use technology as a tool not only to make yourself a success, but to also help society, I think that will go a long way,” he said.

“And please remember that technology is not the be-all and end-all—whilst we want to master technology, don’t at the end of the day let technology master you.”

He summed up by saying that ultimately, it would be the human spirit that would determine the end result rather than a sole reliance on technology alone.

“Don’t let your humanity disappear when you apply technology,” he said, also touching upon the subject of job replacement in Malaysia.

“We can’t reject technological change, but we must be aware of the pitfalls,” he added.

“That’s why we take a holistic approach—while we want to see successful entrepreneurs emerge, we also don’t want to see jobless people, or those who are stuck in the middle income.”

  • All this took place during the launch of the Global Accelerator Programme (GAP), which you can read about in this article.

 

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