No no no..definitely not. haha. I was at the launch of the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Trade and Investment Report 2013 (theme: turning the tide towards inclusive trade and investment), this morning (December 2, 2013) at 10 am by the Art Gallery, Chancellery Building, The University of Malaya by Professor Rajah Rasiah my good friend who is an Oxbridge scholar and is now back at the faculty of economics and administration (FEA) as acting dean. He was dean and then as a Khazanah Chair holder, was Director at the university's Regulatory Studies Centre for awhile.
The presentation was followed by reactions from a MIDA official, Adjunct Professor Khaeruddin Sudharmin and Dr Lee Hwok Aun from Universiti Malaya and was moderated by Prof Dr Kee Cheok an Adjunct Professor at Universiti Malaya. I had read about the launch of the same report in Sri Lanka and was told it was also launched by OECD last week. I spent the whole night reading the 182-page report ...wondering adoi..what am I going to say/comment on behalf of the private sector! huhuhu
The ideas only came in early this morning before I left the house only to get caught in the morning rush hour jam...huhuhu. I was hoping that my reaction would be the last one. hahaha no no no..after Prof Rajah presented...everybody on the panel looked at me...omg.. so here's what I was blabbering away. It was on LIVE video for the university community and gawd knows who else were watching me...erkkk. it'll probably be on youtube. I hope I did not say anything politically, economically or socially inappropriate. hehehe
I began by saying...eh hello, in the private sector its all about profits ok...hehehe (or is it? hmmm). No risk no gain. We operate in a world of uncertainty.That's the first thing they teach us at business schools, remember? The private sector (MNCs, public-listed companies, SMEs ) are constantly looking at trends and development to ensure their survival and sustainability. Always exploring for new market opportunities while at the same time mitigating their risks. balancing risks and return while planning their growth strategies. They rely on all sorts of data, research from everywhere and would sometime buy expensive country specific risk profiles, reports especially those that do business on a global or regional scale.
I then said, while the mantra or main objective is shareholder wealth creation, the private sector has kept up with times and global scenarios. I said that I agree with some of the observations in the APTIR report 2013 that the era of 'trade and invest now, distribute gains later' is outdated. That the world now demands inclusivity in trade and investment. Inclusivity, which not many people understand or know what it means, is not just about bridging the inequality gap, its also about allowing people to participate in the process.
Then I reminded the audience what JK Galbraith famously said 'Men have been swindling other men on many occasion. In the autumn of 1929, men succeeded in swindling themselves'... The private sector is even tougher than most people can imagine. Especially after the Enron debacle, after sarbanes-oxley Act was introduced in 2005. Greater demands for corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and compliance with many regulatory reforms. Malaysia with Bursa, Securities Commission, and the companies commission. having to keep abreast with latest developments of trade agreements, the failed (or so it seems) of the WTO doha roundtable. Affecting multilateral, bilateral and preferential trade agreements and now we have the TPPA (go read about it haha).
The report confirms that this is the asia-pacific century and the leading investment hub. And moving closer to home, our ETP is private-sector driven by the way. It would not be complete if I did not end my comments by quoting Gabler (Re-inventing the Government..hehehe). 3 important sectors determine the growth or decline of any economy. The Public, Private and Cooperative Sector. Gabler advocates that some things must always be in Government's hands and must never be outsourced. Especially if is strategic and affect the security and sovereignty of any nation; some things may be left to market forces in determining its growth or demise; and for a preferred equitable distribution of gains or wealth, nothing comes closer to the cooperatives...
Do take a look at the UN Asia -Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013...its downloadable from the internet...Happy reading, happy exploring and happy finding some new opportunities from the 55 member nations in the Asia-Pacific region. And oh ya..do have a great week ahead ok...hehehe