Will the MaGIC continue?

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 19 Jun 2018

(L-R) Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaking with MaGIC CEO Ashran Datuk Ghazi at their HQ in Cyberjaya to officiate GAP's second cohort - by Samuel Ong, The Star.

The Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) will continue to operate as normal, though whether it will continue to be funded is not yet known.

Its chief executive officer Ashran Ghazi said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had agreed for Magic’s programmes to go on as usual.

He dismissed speculations that MaGIC would be disbanded, as Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said agencies deemed non-essential will be shutdown.

Ashran pointed out that the Finance Minister officiating its Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) is indicative of the government’s continued support for it.

Asked during a press conference if the centre would continue to get government allocations, he replied there were no conversations on that yet.

He revealed that MaGIC had about 70 staff and received an average allocation of about RM50mil a year, amounting to nearly RM197mil in the last four years.

Ashran said though MaGIC doesn’t generate revenue, he estimates that the agency has contributed to the economy of the country.

He said that its first batch of startups from the GAP raised USD11.031mil (RM44.172mil) and had a valuation of USS275.775mil (RM1.104bil).

However, Lim, whose visit marked the first time a Finance Minister attended a MaGIC event, declined to comment on the institution’s fate.

“I have nothing new to add to my speech. If there is something new to say, I will,” he said.

Lim said technology can help bridge the gap in equitable growth.

But creativity and innovation should be a private sector effort, while the Government should only to take a limited role in “things in it doesn’t understand”, he added.

“The business of government is to keep out of business. Our ultimate goal is not to make money, it’s to make life easier for the public,” he said, adding that the Government’s main focus now was to contain cost.

On May 23, Dr Mahathir announced several government agencies will be abolished or redeployed, starting with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) while the National Professors Council (MPN), Special Affairs Department (Jasa), and the Residents’ Representatives Committee (JPP) are under review.

He also said institutions like Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit), the National Innovation Agency and MaGIC that are not part of the government but are supposed to “advise” government, will also be disbanded.
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