Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tee Keat: Drop quotas

Tee Keat: Drop quotas to survive

February 17, 2009 by admin

PORT DICKSON: Local industries should not be subjected to a “quota-centric” system if they want to survive globalisation, says MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

Ong said the time had come for industries to be independent of a system that had become regressive.

“The liberalisation of the services sector will test the resilience of Malaysian companies. But we still have people talking about the New Economic Policy and the 30% quota (that should be reserved for the Bumiputra in local non-Bumiputra companies),” he said.

“We need to remind ourselves that we are signatories to the World Trade Organisation and the Asean framework (on liberalisation) and if we continue to burden our local companies, then they would not be able to compete with the others.”

He was speaking to reporters at a dinner organised by the Negri Sembilan MCA in Bandar Springhill near here.

Ong said it was his duty to remind the people on the effects of globalisation and how local companies would be affected if no effort was taken to allow them to compete freely.

He said the days when local companies were competing only against themselves or could expect some form of protectionism from the authorities were gone.

“We need to ask ourselves how resilient our companies are. I don’t want to see the minds of our people being shackled by this so-called quota-centric system,” he said.

“Whatever we do, we must form a new mindset,” he said, adding that he would soon have dialogues with other government leaders on the need to abolish such “unworkable” systems.

“Today, we want our companies to be able to go beyond our shores and make their presence felt. In this globalisation era, it is the resilience that counts,” he said.

Ong said that when he first spoke about globalisation back in 1997, many people were unable to make out the challenges that it would bring along.

“Today, we need to do away with this (quota system). We need to be a little provocative to get the message across,” he said.

“Only the quota-centric people are going to develop a phobia,” he said.

Ong added that what he said on the need to do away with a quota system in business was not merely a pep talk, and that he would have voiced his concern on the system irrespective of where he was.

“As Transport Minister, I will talk to people in the transport industry to be more competitive,” he said.

On a separate matter, Ong said the MCA’s central committee at its meeting on Sunday had endorsed Negri Sembilan state chief Datuk Dr Yeow Chai Tiam as senator.

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