By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on October 6, 2009 2:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
1. I feel sorry for Malaysian manufacturers. They find it difficult and sometimes impossible to market their products in the country because somehow Malaysians, including the Government and its agencies cannot believe that Malaysian products are as good, if not better than imported goods.
2. When Malaysian products cannot be sold at home, it becomes almost impossible to convince foreign buyers to buy them. The question that foreigners often ask is whether Malaysians especially the Government have bought them.
3. Despite this failure to market Malaysian products locally, some have still managed to be marketed abroad. And some have been very successful.
4. These Malaysians are not asking for protection or even favours. All they want is to be properly evaluated against foreign competitors when they make bids. But somehow they seem to fail always.
5. There are excuses of course. The foreign suppliers have been supplying for years and years. They just cannot be dropped.
6. Even when the products have been well accepted abroad, the Government and its agencies cannot be convinced.
7. The Government wants to be transparent. Perhaps if awards of contracts are published just as offers of contracts are, then the public and the local businessmen would know who gets what, how many times and for how long. The contract process should also be made known. If contracts are to be for five years then we should know why contracts are given for longer periods.
8. Then Malaysians would know why they have been failing all these while. They would then be able to take necessary steps to become competitive. In fact other foreign suppliers too can take corrective action.
9. At the moment we can read the advertisements on new projects up for tender. But who wins the tender is not publicised.
10. An open Government keen to be transparent should do this. That it was never done before is no reason it cannot be done now. Previously no one promised to be transparent. But now we all hear about transparency.
11. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is not coming in as much as before. We cannot compete with China or Vietnam, not even with Thailand and Indonesia. While we should continue to promote FDI, we should also help the local investors. We should remember that their earnings stay in the country, much more than the earnings of foreign owned industries.
12. If we help them our industries can become world players. At the moment we do not have our Sony or Hitachi or Samsung or Hyundai. We have the technical capacities for truly Malaysian products and companies to be as well-known as those of Japan and Korea.
13. We merely need a little boost from Malaysians, particularly from the Government and its numerous agencies and companies.
14. I hesitate to write this article because I fear that those in charge would make life even more difficult for Malaysian companies, presuming that they had complained to me.
15. But what I say here is public knowledge. We should really be helping ourselves.