Archive for the ‘Malaysia’ Category

Malaysia’s entrepreurial efforts

May 25, 2010

Malaysia’s relatively high entrepreneurialism is reflected in ranking on the Legatum Prosperity Index: 28th out of 104 economies. And the World Bank ranks it 23rd out of 183 economies in the ease of doing business.

A report by the Mansfield Foundation refers to the support mechanisms for entrepreneurs in Malaysia, including physical infrastructure, business advisory services and access to capital. Also, the ‘New Economic Model’ for Malaysia has made entrepreneurship the key driver for the next 10 years.  But Malaysia’s entrepreneurial impact hasn’t been maximized. The CEO of Warisan Global explains that “there is a strong intent by the government to create entrepreneurs – but some of these initiatives are also our weaknesses – they create a dependent mentality and tend to smother the hunger in entrepreneurs.”

Entrepreneurs also point to the need to produce highly competent graduates, the risk adversity of the small venture capital sector, and government protection of certain industries via regulatory requirements e.g. Astro has the sole satellite TV license and severely curtails entrepreneurship and access to the best services.

Contributed by Jonathan Ortmans, Public Forum Institute (Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, USA)

Florida USA interest in incentives + clusters

August 26, 2008



Dear Cockatoo



I came across your July 2000 article, “Cluster-led economic development is not a fad,” while Googling for information about whether industry recruitment using tax incentives can help create a “synergy” of self-perpetuating business relocation, educational and training opportunities, and cultural enhancements in communities.


I am defining “synergy” as the dynamic created by businesses that received government incentives to relocate to specific communities when interacting with educational institutions, business owners, local economic development entities, governmental entities, and individuals. This dynamic includes expansion or promotion of Florida’s innovation economy.



Now that nearly 8 years have passed since you wrote your article, has this type of dynamic come about in the communities or cities that you cited?


Thank you, Joyce Pugh, Florida Legislature/Senate Commerce Committee, Tallahassee, FL  32399


Cockatoo’s reply


Incentives are fine as long as they address market failure (inability of small firms to capture scale and locational economies, managerial myopia etc.) and enhance inherent competitive advantage and have a sunset clause. The Singaporeans are a great example – they have carved out a competitive position against us in petrochemicals and bioindustries using investment incentives. Ireland is another in medical equipment and ICT.



You folk in Florida have done likewise in aged care, bioindustries and medical services etc. But how? Like the Gold Coast in Australia, sunshine and lifestyle advantages have led to massive population growth – and the ‘retirement haven’ aspect triggered hospitals and medical care. And some local champions were also triggering things.



We are currently spending a good deal of time to better understand the impact of local champions in getting outcomes that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred. I doubt if investment incentives have been that important on the Gold Coast or in Florida – we suspect the gradual layering of hard and soft infrastructure provided the main incentive.



Now is the time for clusters to devote attention to their local companies – investment aftercare and embeddness is the jargon. Otherwise they will become footloose – and China, India, Singapore and Malaysia beckon. There are lots of examples of the intelligent use of incentives featured on my blog – and somewhere there is a listing of the key factors determining industrial investment.


Asia Pacific Technology Exchange wins global attention (BEST PRACTICE)

April 13, 2008


The unstinting efforts of Cockatoo member, Geoff Mullins, were rewarded on 28 March with the launch of the Asia Pacific Technology Exchange by local federal member Maxine McKew MP. She said that ‘this is the innovation economy at work.’


The Exchange is designed to help establish a Silicon Valley-style business cluster in northern Sydney.


The launch also attracted global attention – excerpt of the article in the International Herald Tribune follows.


SYDNEY — A new Australian exchange, aiming to emulate the U.S. Nasdaq index with a focus on technology and innovation stocks, was established Wednesday with plans to become fully operational by the second half of 2008.


The Asia Pacific Technology Exchange, or Aptex, is a joint venture of the National Stock Exchange of Australia and Enterprise Pacific, a not-for-profit company. Based in Sydney, the venture plans to start with a minimum of 20 listed companies. The chairman of Enterprise Pacific, Geoff Mullins, said the new exchange expected to have 200 to 300 companies listed within its first 2-3 years. Mullins said he was not concerned about liquidity on the new exchange, which had been a problem in earlier attempts to establish exchanges in Australia, because of support from brokers and from connections being forged in the Asia-Pacific region. ”We are absolutely certain that this is under way. We have stakeholders signing up, we have companies signing up and we are ready to go.”


NSX had held discussions with stock exchanges in Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, PNG and Fiji on their possible participation. Inquiries had also been received from companies in Taiwan and Korea, and it was possible that 5 of the first 20 companies on the exchange could be Asian. Mullins estimated the total market capitalization of companies listed on the exchange to initially be between $350-650 million.

Contact Geoff at

Nottingham Food Park – first of a kind

October 16, 2007


A £4.7 million business park has opened in Nottingham UK – designed as a unique food and drink facility to help nurture start-up and developing firms. 

The proponents claim it’s the first of its kind in the UK, and provides a range of different-sized units for firms, and an onsite business centre run by The Food & Drink Forum. Created on a former landfill site, Southglade Food Park is funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda), the European Regional Development Fund and Nottingham City Council. Nottingham Regeneration Ltd also played a key role from the concept stage.

Lettings are managed by Nottingham City Council. emda provided £2 million of the £4.7 million project cost. It also funded the design for support services at the park.

It features two 880 sq ft incubator units, four 2,000 sq ft hatchery units and four 5,000 sq ft nursery units. Vegetable specialists Start Fresh Ltd and Pasta Solutions Ltd each occupy two 5,000 sq ft units, Pemberton Corporate Caterers occupies a 2,000 sq ft unit, McArtney’s Catering has an incubator unit, with baker and sandwich maker Tasty Foods about to take the other incubator unit. Interest in the remaining three hatchery units is strong. 

“We are delighted and honoured that the reputation of Southglade as a pioneering incubation park for food and drink businesses has spread, and that it could act as a blueprint for similar centres around the world,” said Briony Cross, Southglade Business Development Manager. The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, Malaysia is planning a similar facility for SME food manufacturers after inspecting the facility. 

‘Cluster cages’ in Malaysia (BEST PRACTICE)

October 16, 2007

 Tony McLennan, editor of ‘Growfish’ has sent us a very timely article from the Straits Times. 

Small-scale fish rearers along Sungai Pahang, Malaysia’s biggest river, face logistical difficulties marketing their produce. Wholesalers have been reluctant to buy fish from them due to insufficient quantities and their scattered locations. The problem has eased since most of the 32 fish rearers have regrouped into four clusters, each with its own “transit cage” supplied by Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama).


Under the “cluster-cage” concept, Fama will obtain its fish supply only at selected locations near the road. Fish rearers will be informed a few days before we come so that they can bring their fish to the transit cage.

Although there are about 200 fish cages there, most of the rearers own just two or three. The cluster-cage concept enables the rearers to concentrate on improving their produce. “We don’t have to think about the marketing aspect anymore. The most important thing for us now is to produce high-quality fish.” said a local, who owns 10 cages. He previously had to go to Kuantan or Kuala Lumpur to sell his fish.  A Fama official said the concept had been expanded to Maran and Kuantan. “We can’t go and buy fish from individual rearers. That is why we have to treat them as a big group supplying more than 400kg of fish each time we come to collect their produce,” he said.

There are 219 fish rearers in Pahang with 1,636 cages. Fama also plans to formulate a new type of fish feed so that rearers can harvest their fish every four months instead of 6-9 months at present.

Letter from Singapore – rethinking development strategies

February 23, 2004

Our man in Singapore is Andrew Symon, a consultant/analyst and a visiting research fellow at the Institute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore. ( Andrew has worked throughout Asia since 1992. 

Last year’s Sars influenza epidemic scare, combined with the Iraq war and fear of terrorism in SE Asia has underlined Singapore’s vulnerability to external shocks.

They resulted in a collapse of tourist and business visitors in the first half of 2003, badly damaging the island state. The loss of income was dramatic, revealing just how dependent the Singapore economy is on retail, hotel, restaurant, entertainment, conference and airline industries and the flows of foreign visitors that support them.

 The shocks may be one off events, and the government has been extremely effective in overcoming the health danger of Sars by stringent detection and quarantine measures, and severe policing against the threat of terrorism.

But the damage has frightened both policy makers and the public. Now, at the start of 2004, there is the spectre of the avian influenza virus outbreak having a similar impact.  The last few years, not just 2003, have been hard ones for Singapore. Economic recovery after the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 was only patchy. In 2001, Singapore fell into recession. In response, the government established an economic review committee, which has recommended:
§          immediate reduction in costs affecting business,
§          longer term strategies to encourage professional services and high value added industries,
§          the inculcation of a more entrepreneurial spirit in locally-owned companies.  

Nothing here is a radical departure. Ever since the early 1990s, encouragement has been given to the development of biomedical, precision engineering, petrochemical and transport – aerospace – marine engineering clusters alongside the computer/electronics, financial and sophisticated services.

But there is a greater sense of urgency now. The goal of fashioning Singapore as a regional hub for professional services underpins the government’s enthusiasm to sign FTAs with Australia, the European Free Trade Association, New Zealand and the US. FTA discussions are ongoing with Canada, China and Mexico.  

Meanwhile, Singapore’s traditional strength as a regional shipping and aviation center continues to be challenged by Malaysia. Malaysia’s southern Johore port of Tanjung Pelapas has been boosted by use of its facilities by Danish shipper Mearsk and Taiwan’s Evergreen.  And, a frenzy of activity now in the emerging budget airline segment, led by Malaysia’s AirAsia, is also worrying Singapore as budget operators look to airports other than Singapore’s Changi to base their services because of lower costs.