Monday, June 1, 2009

Windows of Opportunity ?
Excerpt taken from The Malaysian Insider.
JUNE 1 –

Business and Industry leaders in S’pore were recently asked this question:
*What unexploited business synergies do you see between Singapore and Malaysia?
*What issues need to be addressed to enable these synergies to be tapped and maximised?

Robert Meyer, Managing Director Halcyon Investment Corporation Pte Ltd
IN the state of Johor, an estimated 165 inhabitants live per square kilometre, with a per capita GDP of $15,000. In Singapore, just a Causeway away, each square kilometre is home to 6,760 people with a per capita GDP of $39,000.
As global trade is affected by the financial crisis, it makes sense for neighbouring regions to explore bilateral opportunities. Between Singapore and Johor, let alone Malaysia as a country, the opportunity is obvious: Singapore is short on land and long on management systems and well-heeled consumers. Inversely, Johor and indeed Malaysia have substantial land resources but lack management systems and comparative consumer spending power.
The principle barrier to economic and social interaction between both regions is the historical instability in the legislative framework. As partners, the leading representatives of the public and private sectors of both regions should form a Regional Development Committee, tasked to explore economic and social integration scenarios. On the basis of such analysis, this taskforce should develop a long-term framework to facilitate what will become a natural process of osmosis, driven by scarcity and a free market system. If the playing field is level and the rules are clear and reliable in their application, both regions will be better off in the long run.

Tom Huzell, Managing Director Ikano Pte Ltd
SINGAPORE and Malaysia really have the potential of a beautiful “joint venture”. Malaysia has access to plenty of cheap and attractive land, and cheap(er) and attractive labour. Singapore has none of the two but has, with its international reputation, a lot of international companies already present and active in the country.
Both countries are fluent in English, and both have a good educational system. Both countries have a lot of ethnic, cultural and historical common denominators.
What needs to be done:
First, put all agony, jealousy, little brother-big brother complex behind them, and look for mutual benefits for cooperation.
Second, let Singapore and Malaysia have no-Customs, no-passport borders between them in the way that Sweden and Norway had for years before the European Union became a reality. Today the transit between the countries is very troublesome, and does not encourage cross-border business.

Tan Kok Leong, Principal TKL Consulting
MALAYSIA is a friendly, progressive and moderate Muslim country. The most distinctive achievement of Malaysia is the unique inter-racial harmony and religious tolerance. Racial co-existence is found right down at the street level.
Malaysia has ancient rain forests and the jungles are conserved. About 70 per cent of Sarawak is virgin forest, inhabited by rare and exotic plant and animal species that make Sarawak and Sabah a treasure of biodiversity.
New tourist destinations in forest or on mountain top, or with new facilities on transportation, entertainment and accommodation or project on biotechnology perhaps could be exploited between the two countries.
Benedict Soh, Executive Chairman Kingsmen Creatives Ltd
WE should focus on the similarities and, paradoxically, the differences of the two countries to maximise untapped synergies for ‘win-win’ results.
Malaysia’s plentiful land and manpower resources can be combined with the international expertise of Singapore companies.
Areas which are still under-exploited are export-oriented goods targeted at world markets and tourism/lifestyle businesses. Further boosting of tourism will benefit both domestic and international travellers.
On the domestic front, Singaporeans will enjoy a better lifestyle from the savings of holidaying in Malaysia. For international travellers, offerings from Malaysia’s destinations complement those from Singapore.
In order to succeed, a seamless transaction process and security issues ought to be looked into.

Robert Bailey, President and CEO Abacus International
THE two countries complement each other very well in terms of tourism offerings. Their proximity to each other is another reason why it makes sense to jointly market themselves as a tourist destination. The Malaysia-Singapore Tourism Council set up in 1982 has launched ‘one destination, two countries’ initiatives.
To realise the full potential of this attractive combination and bring benefits to tourism businesses on both sides of the Causeway, the Council can be more active, implement sustained sales and marketing efforts in target markets and have more tour packages that twin Singapore and Malaysia.

The expanded bilateral air services pact announced in April is a good move that makes it easier for tourists to travel between both countries. More frequent flights and to more cities can only benefit tourism.

Original Report from– Business Times Singapore

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