The Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Malaysia Business Council Chairman Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed said going big was the only way to survive in a competitive business environment.
“Surprisingly, in our own country, we do not hear so much of these realignment of thoughts. But from our neighbouring country (Indonesia), we could easily hear that our very own steel manufacturer is holding serious talks about moving their manufacturing works there,” he told Bernama here Sunday.
Roselan Johar said such an unnannounced decision might upset the Malaysian government, but a purely commercial decision always overrode both political and other sentimental reasons.
He noted Malaysia’s low-cost carrier AirAsia was the first to make such a move by shifting its headquarters to Indonesia and the immense increase of their flights and payloads proved that their judgmental decision was a correct one ahead of its time.
Within the context of BIMP-EAGA, Roselan Johar said so much could be done towards that aspect on lands at both sides of the border spanning Sabah and Sarawak into Kalimantan, Indonesia.
“Our first objective should be the construction of the Serudung (Sabah)-Simangaris (Kalimantan) road as it should be an economic catalyst to reach the massive population of Indonesia.
“The logic is simple. We shall have an easy access to 246 million customers and if we should decide to stay out (of the Kalimantan market), then we would be contented with a mere 27 million,” he said.
Roselan Johar said the Indonesian market should be seen as favourable to Malaysian industrialists as the neighbouring country recently experienced an 84 per cent jump in foreign investment, which indicated how much the Indonesians placed value on what was happening in their country and what more could be done.
He said Malaysia could take cue from Indonesia through Sabah and Sarawak in an effort towards acheiving greater economic prosperity within the BIMP-EAGA region.
“The BIMP-EAGA Business Council has always highlighted that the way forward is through agri-business and more discussion should be delved into with the private sector to accelerate this programme.
“We have nominated rice, corn, seaweed and pepper to be taken more seriously, and fish breeding and rearing should also take centre stage,” he said.
He also hoped the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry would allocate more budget for research and development facilities as well as promotional expenses to encourage more people to venture into farming.