PETALING JAYA: Corporate leaders and industry lobby groups are optimistic on the Prime Minister’s plans to set up a facilitation fund to attract private sector investments of at least RM200bil during the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) period.
In his motion to table the 10MP in Parliament yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said a fund of RM20bil would be provided under the 10MP to help bridge the private sector viability gap with respect to projects that had a strategic impact and those with huge economic spillover.
SP Setia Bhd president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said in an email reply to StarBiz that such partnerships were a good way to steer the country forward in achieving a high-income economy.
“We’re certainly excited at the prospects and opportunities presented to the private sector in forming beneficial partnerships and will keenly pursue this,” he said.
The financial services industry would stand to gain from such partnerships, noted Hong Leng Bank Bhd group managing director Yvonne Chia.
“Project financing skill sets and capabilities in the local bond and sukuk markets have continued to progress in recent times, this will augur well for the capital markets and bank syndication opportunities,” she said.
Digi.com Bhd chief executive officer Henrik Clausen said the telecommunications firm looked forward to working with the Government to fulfil the aspiration for 75% broadband household penetration by 2015.
“A sustained and accelerated roll-out of mobile Internet services will support the growth of the economy, and also bring socio-economic benefits to all sections of the community.
“The challenge here should be about both expanding connectivity to rural communities, as well as ensuring that the overall population receives access to high-quality mobile services, at competitive prices,” he said.
Najib said smart and effective partnerships between the public and private sectors would be established to drive the economic transformation agenda.
“This new wave of public-private partnership will ensure equitable sharing of risks and returns,” he added.
However, several corporate leaders were cautious in their assessment of such partnerships, which have had mixed success so far.
Supermax Corp Bhd executive chairman and group managing director Datuk Seri Stanley Thai said the success of the 10MP would still depend on proper implementation and execution.
He said the lower confidence of the business community stemmed from the poor implementation of the 9MP. “There are good ideas in the 10MP but this will require political will,” Thai said.
Observers also preferred to take a wait-and-see attitude in respect of Najib’s efforts to transform the economy to achieve high-income status by 2020.
UCSI University political science lecturer Dr Ong Kian Ming said there was no conclusive evidence as yet that Najib was willing to bite the bullet over issues such as subsidies and the bumiputra equity policy.
“He needs to make some hard decisions. I’m still observing how far he’ll go to reduce the subsidies and he does not seem willing to bite the bullet over the bumiputra equity policy,” he said.
Najib said the target of achieving at least 30% bumiputra corporate equity ownership at macro level would remain.
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) noted in a press release that sufficient commitment was needed to realise targets to boost private investment and economic growth as well as reduce the fiscal deficit.
“The target growth rate of 12.8% for private investment will be challenging given the 2% that was achieved in the 9MP period,” it said.
The industry lobby group said reducing the fiscal deficit to less than 3% in 2015 from 5.3% in 2010 would also be challenging, given the financing needs of the New Economic Model.
But the FMM lauded the Government’s efforts in adopting a more consultative approach via engaging the private sector more effectively in its development strategies.
BMW Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Geoffrey Briscoe said there was a need for the Government to continue implement measures to tackle sensitive but economically vital issues such as the gradual revision of fuel subsidies and inflative control policies such as the approved permit system.
He said the speedy implementation and success of the Government’s six national key result areas were a testament to what could be achieved through determination and well-considered cooperative efforts.
Related Stories: What the captains of industry say about the 10MP Economists: 10MP objectives ambitious but achievable Minister: 10MP requires value management analysis on programmes Kejora seeks RM330m fund for 10MP projects Fulfilling the agenda of NEP and Vision 2020 Malaysia must catch up to gain high-income status Economy: A watershed year likely
Did you find this article insightful?