Government is our main roadbock, through its fear of ideas

Malek Ali 4 years ago • updated by BigVee 4 years ago 6
Since its inception, BFM Radio, a business radio station I founded, has tried to expand our broadcast footprint beyond the Klang Valley, only to meet official intransigence. We have dedicated programming for entrepreneurs, so that they can be matched to potential funders, business partners, customers, but all this is for nought outside of the Klang Valley. Our fault seems to be that other parts of our programming demand the same fiduciary responsibilities of government that the private sector demands of its corporate leaders.

So yes, the Malaysian government is our main impediment to growth. But maybe there's an unintended consequence: It has forced us to go abroad to seek growth.

It's interesting how government restrictions has caused some of our Malaysian companies to go abroad and become global or regional leaders - Eversendai, who built one of the KLCC towers through a subcontract by the Koreans, was not given more work in Malaysia and had to go to the Middle East, where it went on to build the Burj Al-Khalifa, and now is the global leader in steel structures.  Other examples include Top Glove, Supermax (no. 1 and 2 global leaders in the rubber glove industry), and AirAsia (the way AirAsia is treated by Malaysia Airports, given that the passenger traffic that AirAsia brings is the single most important reason for MAHB's success, is abysmal). We also now see entrepreneurs being squeezed out by government-linked entities (SP Setia, E&O, Sunrise), and government entities competing with private sector for business (1MDB, a fund guaranteed by taxpayer's money is competing  with a slew of private sector entities for renewal of power plant concessions). 
Malek, we're both of the same generation, we're old skool that way old friend. this isn't our forum anymore for our own needs. now you and I should should fight for the next generation. let the past be the past. there're many examples, some of which you've quoted, which ring true and yet we've found our own way through that miasma. it could have been easier but the obstacles made us. let's have a drink next.
for Magic to really happen, especially to support Malaysia Startup, I think the most important things for our Government to be transparent and Clean.

Not sure if you aware of this, few years back, we have a Safety App call "MyDistress", sponsored by PDRM Selangor, it's free to use, and so far, very effective app, as it direct link to Police Selangor..

Then our Government decided to kill the project, and started a New App call "SaveMe999", Project Cost-> RM 1 billion, without open tender, and not asking us "Watch Over Me App" to submit proposal, An App that have won Several International Awards (Including best Startup at Silicon Valley at 2012), and features in number of TV in US.  

We aren't given chance to proof ourself..

How can we compete and growth in this environment?
RM1b cost is considered astronomical even by Silicon Valley valuations.

So sorry to hear that you're a victim of this kind of cronyism politics.

Thanks Chen for sharing your valuable insight.
Chen, it's odd we get thumbs down for our comment. Really funny. Thanks for showing us the "quality" of the mass. Proof sighted for the environmental issue.
Food for thought, is the Government serious about bringing overseas talent back?

Based on Malik's comments, my take is that the 'government road block' applies mostly to businesses in the growth and maturity stages. Unfortunately this is more apparent if your growth strategy is focused locally, which is inevitable for some businesses, e.g. BFM. (my fav radio station by the way)

Having said that, If my startup is a global product and has gained traction in Malaysia and has also won international awards, the growth in Malaysia would be the last thing I worry about. If the product is good enough for the world stage, I would focus on global expansion and never look back. There will be no short of funding especially if you have won awards in the US. 

To be honest, for me as a tech entrepreneur, this issue is the last thing I worry about as I truly believe the support from the government for startups is fairly good. I attended a startup event that led to the opening of the Magic building and I, who have been in the tech industry for 6 years felt it was a great event. This never would've happened if government support wasn't there. 

I do see where some of your comments are coming from, but to bring politics in, it is as if we are asking Magic or Cheryl to solve corruption in Malaysia, which I would love to see them do but unfortunately it aint happening. 

Maybe the route for this discussion would be:

1) What types of businesses, tech startups maybe affected by these so called Governement Road blocks? I.e. Mobile apps that may interfere with regulation, government processes, radio stations,  etc?