Malaysia Inc to make a comeback, says Dr Mahathir

Under the initial Malaysia Inc strategy introduced in 1983, Malaysia was heading towards glory

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government will reintroduce the Malaysia Inc concept, in line with the aim of garnering greater cooperation between the public and private sectors for a common goal of uplifting the economy.

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said under the initial Malaysia Inc strategy introduced in 1983, Malaysia was heading towards glory, and its reintroduction will bring the country closer towards becoming a developed country.

“(Under Malaysia Inc) the home country is regarded as one big operation and the government and private sector work together to make profits for this national corporation.

“From here, we will have the money to support industries to support the people and provide good governance,” he said at the launch of the 9th International Rubber Glove Conference and Exhibition 2018 yesterday.When it was initiated 35 years ago, Malaysia Inc was conceptualised as an industrial strategy to forge a symbiotic relationship and partnership between the public and private sectors.

It was modelled after a Japanese model of economic development to forge mutual public-private partnerships and to target state investment.

Dr Mahathir said the government encourages business and believed in the concept of Malaysia Inc.

“We believe in the government and the private sector working closely together,” he said. However, he added that it was not altruistic of the government to help the private sector.

“If we help you to make more money, it is because 26% of the money you make belongs to the government for it to provide services.”

He also praised Malaysia for its leading role in the rubber industry, saying the country is now synonymous with rubber.

“It is not the rubber that is important, but the application,” he said, giving the example of surgical gloves and the structure of buildings in earth quake-prone areas.

Dr Mahathir also called for the Malaysian rubber industry to further diversify the applications of its agricultural commodities through research and development.

He said research is key for the industry to progress and discover new opportunities through new products.

He cited the various downstream ventures that have been undertaken over the years by the industry, including the supply of final products like rubber gloves, as an example.

“We have neglected (production of) rubber in favour of oil palms. Now, I think we are no longer the biggest producer of rubber in the world, (but) we are the biggest rubber glove producer in the world.

“It is not rubber that is important, it is its application that is important. Certainly, more research could yield even more usage for plants that we can grow in this country,” he added.

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low Jau Foo said Malaysia aims to export 168.8 billion pieces of rubber gloves worth RM18.8 billion this year.

Speaking at the conference, Low said the figure is an increase from 150 billion pieces of rubber gloves worth RM16.2 billion exported in 2017, up from 120 billion pieces worth RM13.1 billion in 2016.

“We are in an industry that one day could be a leading (one) in Malaysia, because the world is talking about a 15% growth in demand for rubber gloves each year,” he said.

Margma’s estimation puts Malaysia’s market share in the industry at about 63% of approximately 268 billion pieces required globally in 2018.