“ASEAN & INDIA: GOING GLOBAL”
- Firstly, I would like to thank “The Indus Entrepreneurs”, or TiE, for inviting me to address your Asia Pacific Conference this year. I am indeed glad that TiE Malaysia has taken the initiative to host the 2010 conference, thereby giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on Malaysia’s role in forging a unique and strategic ASEAN and India partnership for the future. Furthermore, I am happy to note that by hosting TiE Asia Pacific 2010, many top global entrepreneurs will convene in Kuala Lumpur, and therefore be able to experience Malaysia’s vibrancy first hand.
- The theme of this year’s conference; “ASEAN and India: Going Global” is as obvious as it is timely. When there is so much shared and intertwined history coupled with similar contemporary challenges and opportunities, the onus is clearly on us to expand and deepen the ASEAN and India relationship at all levels. With fast growing economies, exciting prospects and increasing global clout, ASEAN and India must do much more to forge a partnership for the future. In this regard, TiE has done well to focus our attention on this specific relationship and subsequently, to collectively devise strategies of how entrepreneurs on both sides can build ASEAN-India economic ties.
- ASEAN and India today represent a market of 1.7 billion people with a combined GDP of approximately USD$3 trillion. These are big facts that businesses worldwide cannot, and will not, ignore. In building a robust ASEAN-India relationship for the 21st century that capitalises on these facts, India as well as the member states of ASEAN must play their respective roles.
- At the crossroads of Asia for centuries, Malaysia is, as ever, fully committed to building deeper ties across the region. On our part, we will continue engaging India whilst also continuing to play a leading role in building upon existing linkages between ASEAN and India. Our commitment in this regard is underscored by my visit to India earlier this year as well as the recent visit of my Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, to Malaysia. These significant exchanges have not only brought an immediacy to our mutual efforts and cemented close cultural ties but also resulted in numerous business and investment opportunities.
- Over the course of 2010 alone, many landmark agreements have been signed and some executed between the Governments of Malaysia and India. These include agreements to complete the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or CECA, multiple memorandas of understanding in the fields of Tourism, IT & Services, Traditional Systems of Medicine, Research & Development, in fields of biotechnology aggregation and many others. These are very meaningful milestones that will feature prominently in increasing trade and investment flows between Malaysia and India. We are confident that the country-to-country relationship will manifest itself more intensely and meaningfully as the many initiatives agreed to, take form and generate results. One such result is the projected doubling in trade between India and Malaysia by 2015 as a result of these G-to-G agreements coupled with other initiatives between our respective private sectors.
- Business leaders from ASEAN and India here today should recognise that, as competitive as these are, our policies to encourage investment and trade are not limited to tax incentives, grants and world class infrastructure. In our national objective to make Malaysia a high income economy, the Government is also focused on initiatives that will clearly communicate to the world that Malaysia is a country on the move. Amongst other key strategies, we will continue to strive to simplify as well as reduce the cost of doing business. Initiatives such as those undertaken by a government-private sector taskforce have proven successful in removing red tape in business registration, reducing evaluation times for business licenses and so forth. Furthermore, in terms of human capital, the Malaysian Government will continue to put the right measures in place to ensure that industry has ready access to a large pool of qualified and skilled Malaysians.
- Further to streamlining Government interaction with business and creating sufficient human resources, we will continue to support enterprise through the many dedicated public sector agencies set up and also via consistent engagement with the private sector. We will also consistently pursue policies that create an environment where entrepreneurs will not just survive, but thrive. This is as we recognise the critical function of entrepreneurs in developing and sustaining economic growth and wealth creation. In Malaysia, over a relatively short period of time, many companies under the leadership of Malaysian entrepreneurs have built strong companies and leading brands and so, considerably boosted national growth. In this regard, part of our national strategy will be to encourage Malaysian companies to go beyond, not only to become national champion but also regional and global champion.
- The Government also realises that for entrepreneurs to be successful, adequate access to finance and capital is a prerequisite. We have indeed embarked on measures to provide unique opportunities for businesses to access financial and capital markets. In this regard, I am pleased to note that Bursa Malaysia is working with TiE to encourage Indian and Non-Resident Indian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities Malaysian capital markets have to offer. Furthermore, the Securities Commission and the Stock Exchange Board of India have signed an agreement paving the way for improved opportunities in cross border capital market activities.
- In finance, I urge foreign entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in our highly developed Islamic Banking and Financial Services industry, which is now complemented by the presence of leading international Islamic banks in Kuala Lumpur. We can confidently say that our financial institutions have more than adequate capacity to support entrepreneurs in their business endeavours.
- In the coming years, Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Program, will ensure that we are near the forefront, competing with the top economies of the world. The numerous and significant programs and projects identified under the ETP will provide many opportunities for private business. Entrepreneurs from India, via TiE, as well as through chambers of commerce and other business organisations, should pay close heed to the significant ways in which Malaysia and other ASEAN countries are economically evolving, and even transforming. There are many fields and industries in which Indian companies, and the entrepreneurs that drive them, are leading the world. It is in these niche areas that Indian entrepreneurs should direct particular attention to, and thereby play a focused, constructive and indeed lucrative role in ASEAN’s onward development. Needless to say the same thinking applies to ASEAN and Malaysian entrepreneurs devising strategies of business deployment in India.
- Trade and industry associations in India as well as in Malaysia and ASEAN must also collaborate to bring the regions closer together. Given the connections and insights that these associations can offer, entrepreneurs should be encouraged to engage these associations and therefore, better understand the markets they seek to invest in. Furthermore, Malaysian chambers of commerce and industry organisations can play a key strategic role to help Indian businesses better understand the broader ASEAN market. In this regard, Malaysia is ready to facilitate the entry of Indian entrepreneurs into South East Asia and execute a role as India’s gateway into ASEAN.
- This is indeed a timely conference for the private sector, following, as it does, on the heels of initiatives implemented by the Government. I trust that participants will be able to learn of new opportunities arising from growing ties between ASEAN and India as well as arising from the landmark Malaysia-India agreements on trade and cooperation in numerous fields. A more solid partnership will undoubtedly deepen economic bonds between ASEAN and India to the extent that it engenders greater commercial confidence in each other. This in turn will naturally result in tangible improvements in bilateral trade and investment between the two regions. Greater mutual confidence will also result in more partnerships between ASEAN and Indian entrepreneurs that will then, together, seek to compete globally.
- Naturally, the Government welcomes feedback from the deliberations of this conference that will help propel greater trade and investment flows between ASEAN and India. From the Malaysian point of view, this conference can play a key role in sharing the views of their member entrepreneurs and captains of industry on what needs to be done by the Government of Malaysia in order to both attract Indian investments and to play a facilitative role for Indian companies to enter ASEAN. I would like to reiterate that Malaysia will do what is necessary for Indian entrepreneurs to increasingly view Malaysia as a strategic commercial destination; a destination that can play a key role in their business’ onward growth and international expansion.
- Given the strong formal and personal relationship that we enjoy between two governments, I am confident that we can provide the right political ambience which will result in a much more burgeoning commercial activities between our two countries and between India and ASEAN.
- Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very successful conference. For those of you from abroad, I hope you will manage to find the time to enjoy the sounds and sights of Malaysia. I thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with you and wish you all the very best in your deliberations.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Ladies & Gentlemen,