SUCCEEDING IN A GLOBAL LANDSCAPE OF ACCELERATING CHANGE FOR EMERGING BUSINESS:
Opportunities and challenges for your business
A very Good Good Morning & Salam 1 Malaysia;
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dr. Zulkefli A Hassan
International Business School
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia International Campus
Yang Berbahagia Mr. Stewart Forbes
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Yang Berbahagia Prof. Dr. Mohamed Amin Alias
Yang Berbahagia Professor Govindan Nair
President of Hemisphere Solution USA
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
First and foremost I want to thank the organizers for the honour given to me and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to share this morning with you. More than that I must commend the International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for this effort. I am humbled by this invitation, specifically to be in the company Professor Govindan Nair former lead economist from World Bank Group.
I am proud that UTM is undertaking this initiative. This is significant as it not only profiles the university, but also provides the opportunity for the faculty, students and the business community to interact. And in the context of today’s global economic realities, it is important that we strengthen the bonds between academia and the business community.
The challenges in global economic environment warrants the deeper collaboration between the academic and business worlds. And I use the word business here in a broad sense to encompass economic and market analysts. These are folks whose real time analysis of the global and domestic economic situation inform financial decisions. And theirs are also analyses that we in government track as we make policy decisions. Sessions like this one today also enrich us and help encapsulate the issues so that we make better informed decisions.
The last 8 months have been exceptionally turbulent for the global economy. The IMF’s theme of its recently published World Economic Outlook says it all: “Growth Resuming, Dangers Remain”. Global growth is projected to go from 4% in 2011 to about 3.5% this year. The eurozone is projected to go into a mild recession and both China and India are expected to record slower growth. Given Malaysia’s export orienation, ongoing risks to the global recovery consitute risks for Malaysia’s growth. For now, export growth in 2012 is expected to be lower, hovering at about 5-7% this year. And Bank Negara Malaysia has projected a growth of 4-5% from 5.1% in 2011.
In this context that we must appreciate the timely implementation of the Economic Transformation Programme. It bears repeating that to date 110 entry point projects have been launched, 55% of which have taken off and over RM179.2 billion in investments have been committed. These projects are expected to contribute some RM129.5 billion in GNI in 2020 and create over 313,000 jobs.
What’s more significant for us today is that the process of identifying the entry point projects was done collaboratively with as many stakeholders as were willing to participate.
Stewart raised some relevant points about the challenges od global competition, specifically in services. Yes this is the new focus for growth. But This is something that cannot be done by government. The extent to which we can liberalize the sector depends on the ability and capability of the private sector. Government must focus on the regulatory framework. The private sector must be ready and willing and able to face competition. This is an area of dialogue that must continue.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I want to draw your attention again to the reason we are here today. We have been brought together by the collaboration between UTM and MICCI. This also helps to dispel the notion that institutions of higher learning operate in their ivory towers, detached from the goings on in the real world. And I suppose this is a debate that has been going on for a long time. What exactly is the role of universities and what is the objective of a university education? Of course there is one group that insists that universities and institutions of higher learning must produce graduates who are work-place ready. Then there is the other group that feels that the university is the place for exploring new knowledge, for R&D and experiments in ideas and thoughts; that universities’ focus should be on providing the all-important base or foundation for critical and strategic thinking. With this will follow employability.
In many ways these positions are two sides of the same coin, and should therefore not be mutually exclusive. I was a product of a liberal arts education. But that was at a different time. While my university course work was not tailored specifically at preparing me for the workplace, it did provide me with invaluable skills which have held me in good stead.
Today the environment is quite different. And this is in large part due to the access to information and knowledge and access to real time developments facilitated by technology. The challenge is to ensure that our students are well able to distinguish between information and mis-information; to be able to question and critically assess the data and information that they are bombarded with daily. Hence, the relevance of the twin objectives of universities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, we are very well aware of the pressures that impact our business community. We know that the decisions we make in the global arena, whether in ASEAN, APEC or the WTO, as well as in domestic policy formulation will impact business. So we are conscious of the need to consult with industry, research institutions as well as experts in the respective fields. In fact, public consultation and engagement is integral to our tasks at MITI. Our doors are always open and we welcome feedback. We have the cross-fertilization programme with MICCI and FMM.
In this context, we would be pleased to collaborate with members of academia in enriching the curriculum to the benefit of government, academe, students and the business community. I have made similar offers to members of the media because I am a firm believer in continuous learning at all levels. And of course to the academics, I’d like to say that we welcome the research that would assist in policy development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The focus of today’s seminar is to provide a glimpse of the challenges we face in the light of intense global competition. I suppose this is where we will see the confluence of the academic with the real world; where theory and reality serve to inform us on how to make decisions that matter. It is clearly not my place to delve into the details of this subject, especially when we have with us an expert in Prof Govindan Nair. I leave him the weightier task of dealing with the subject matter at hand. Mine is the pleasant task of commending UTM’s International Business School for taking this step in organizing this seminar, and more importantly, in collaborating with MICCI to ensure that both the graduate students and businesses have to opportunity to interact and share ideas on this subject.
I thank you all very much for your kind attention and I wish you all every success!