Focus on business-friendly policies and not bumiputra equity requirement, Finance Ministry urged

SUPP Women chief Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING: The Finance Ministry should focus on business-friendly policies to help the nation's economy recover instead of imposing the 51% bumiputra equity requirement for freight forwarding companies, says the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).

Its women's wing chief, Kho Teck Wan, asked if the requirement under the New Economic Policy, which was introduced in 1971, was still relevant in current times.

"I urge Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz to consider the impact on Malaysia's international trade and entrepreneurial spirit should such a requirement be imposed in December 2022," she said in a statement.

She was commenting on reports that the Finance Ministry had postponed the enforcement of the 51% bumiputra ownership requirement for freight forwarding companies to next December.

Kho said since the beginning of last year, logistics companies had been facing a very challenging time in the global supply chain crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said they faced container shortages, increase in ocean freight prices, air freight crisis due to reduced global flights and shortage of frontline operations staff.

"And now they are facing a deadline of December 2022 to ensure that their companies have 51% bumiputra ownership.

"No entrepreneur in the world, bumiputra or not, wants to build a business just to sell 51% ownership and become a minority shareholder, especially if the company is a family-owned business that is built over a few generations," she said.

Kho added that the country's economy was only as strong as the purchasing power of the majority, not a selected few.

She said although former finance minister Lim Guan Eng claimed to have rejected the 51% bumiputra equity requirement for freight forwarding companies, nothing was done to rectify the issue during his tenure and the requirement was never retracted.

"With over two decades of solid finance and investment background, I am certain the current Finance Minister understands and knows well what should be done to reform our economy to benefit all.

"As the country moves forward with a new government, we should focus on friendly economic policies that can help economic recovery while increasing the median household income," Kho said.

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