Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Paul Leong Khee Seong
Executive Chairman of Nanyang Press Holdings Berhad
Yang Berusaha Chong Choong Nam
Organizing Chairman of the Golden Bull Award 2008 cum Chief Executive Officer of Nanyang Siang Pau
Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Hanif Omar
Deputy Chairman of Genting Resorts Berhad
Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Syed Amin
President of the SME International cum President of the Kuala Lumpur Malay Chamber of Commerce
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good evening to all of you.
1. It is indeed my pleasure and privilege to join you once again for the Golden Bull Award 2008 Gala Award Presentation Ceremony here in Genting Highlands. One of the joys of being here is seeing so many happy and confident faces. Indeed, 120 companies will hold aloft the prestigious Golden Bull Award later on tonight, which has been regarded as the most representative award for Malaysian Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). I am glad to share in the moment of success of these companies receiving awards in recognition of their outstanding performance.
2. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers Nanyang Siang Pau, the leading business daily, and Expomal International Sdn Bhd for their continuous efforts in organizing Golden Bull Award 2008, with this year’s theme “Leading by Excellence”. Together with Nanyang Siang Pau’s 85th anniversary celebration, this reflects their strong commitment in complementing the Government’s efforts towards strengthening and elevating the status of SMEs.
Ladies and gentlemen,
3. “Leading by Excellence” is a statement of many thoughts but the most fitting for an accolade like the Golden Bull Award is that, it honours the essence of business entrepreneurship. As it is a fact, that a leader needs to be resourceful and enterprising to command reverence and respect, it is also the vision of the leader that set its organisation ahead of the others.
4. On the theme of leadership, I also wish to compliment the leaders amongst these Golden Bull Award winners that have the vision to step forward to showcase and share their achievements unselfishly with the business fraternity at large for our common benefits. A true leader knows that sharing is the best way to achieve more and is confident that his recipe for success can only be enhanced and not stolen through competition. Leveraging on the collective intellect is always a better bet, as only far sighted leaders realise such wisdom. Being policy makers, we look to the business leaders that are sensitive and savvy towards supply and demand to show us the way to ensure progression in the most harmonious manner.
5. In many ways, an award is like a mandate. The Golden Bull Award winners have all been mandated to lead the Malaysian business community to achieve greater heights. There is no difference in the people’s mandate given to us as the policy makers of the nation. Once the mandate is given, the loud calling is for immediate leadership. Transforming the mandate for the maturing electorate into action is of pivotal importance. There is no better way other than the pursuit of excellence in every possible way, from value creation, governance and sustainable development.
6. Therefore, the Golden Bull Award is a timely recognition of business leadership excellence particularly the SMEs, most representative of the grass root sentiment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
7. SMEs represent the primary source to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship within the nation. As such, SMEs are in a position to become a sustainable source of comparative advantage, contributing to the competitiveness of even the large companies which depend on the availability and competencies of home grown SMEs in the delivery of their integrated supply, production and distribution chains. Therefore the Government is determined to ensure their sustainable growth and development, especially in light of the uncertainties brought about by the current global financial turmoil.
8. As we all know, the global financial turmoil, which was triggered by the sub-prime fiasco in the middle of 2007, has now started to show its effects in the real economy. Around the world stock markets have fallen, large financial institutions have collapsed or been bought out, and governments in even the wealthiest nations have had to come up with rescue packages to bail out their crippling financial systems. In the developing world, the rise in food prices, the knock-on effects from international financial instability and uncertainty in industrialized nations are having a compounding effect. Falling commodity prices together with fears of global recession are worrying many developing countries.
9. Although the current economic situation in Malaysia is still regarded as stable, a global financial meltdown will affect the livelihoods of almost every business in an increasingly inter-connected world. In this respect, our Government has taken some pre-emptive moves such as the guarantee of all deposits up to December 2010 and the injection of additional RM5bn into Valuecap for it to invest in undervalued companies. I will be announcing more measures on November 4th during the budget winding-up session in parliament. The government will ensure that benefits of the measures will trickle down to all the businesses, especially to the SMEs.
10. In times of challenges brought forth by external-led economic uncertainties, SMEs must be cautious in every facet of their business operations to identify ways to streamline processes, eliminate waste, consolidate activities and adopt new technology and efficient processes.
11. In striving towards long-term competitiveness, SMEs should also adopt best practices in their governance and risk management process. They must have an aptitude for hard work and prudent practices, the agility to adapt to changing conditions, perseverance and entrepreneurial skills. These are the qualities that will enable SMEs to ride through the near term challenges and allow them to sustain, grow and enhance their contribution to our economy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
12. Malaysia is one of the top 20 trading nations and the 19th most competitive country in the world according to the Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development’s World Competitiveness Yearbook 2008, moving up four notches from 23rd position in 2007. This ranking puts Malaysia ahead of, among others, the United Kingdom (21st), Japan (22nd), Thailand (27th) and South Korea (31st). A.T.Kearney’s Annual Global Service Location has also ranked Malaysia as among the top three attractive locations for off-shoring and outsourcing services in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
13. To maintain this status quo, we must continue to position our economy to not only support growth, but also improve on the quality of growth. The challenge before us is to be more competitive in the global environment, ensure our economy remains resilient and able to emerge as an integral component of the global economy. To achieve this, a sustainable and resilient SME sector is a must. Borrowing the Chinese wisdom of the meaning of crisis, there are certainly opportunities. If Warren Buffet is taking stock in Goldman Sachs and GE now, there are certainly some positives in this credit crunch; we are confident of just that.
14. To this end, the Government encourages and endorses initiatives such as the Golden Bull Award, a noble effort that help promote and honour outstanding SMEs in the country, providing a valuable avenue to showcase successful companies which have achieved recognised levels of excellence in performance. Once again, I would like to congratulate Nanyang Siang Pau and Expomal International Sdn Bhd for their continuous efforts in creating such a platform to encourage SMEs to excel and strive for excellence.
15. By winning the Award, SMEs will not only gain their well-deserved recognition but also create a brand name for themselves, creating greater visibility in the business world. Therefore, I urge other SMEs to regard these winners as role models and their success should be emulated.
16. With this, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all winners of Golden Bull Award 2008 – the 6th Malaysia Outstanding SMEs. I hope your deserving accolade does not stop here as we look to you in strengthening Malaysia as the most enterprising nation in the world. You are definitely an inspiration to all.
Deputy Prime Minister’s Office
31st October 2008.