PENANG: The Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce is not against an open tender system but is concerned about how “fairness” is defined.
President Rizal Faris Mohideen said the chamber was not against the new state government’s move for fairness and open tender, but felt some handicap should be given to Malay entrepreneurs to even the playing field.
He said this was because there was a gap among the different races in terms of wealth and control of the economy.
Rizal Faris compared the Chinese and the Malays, saying they were unevenly matched.
“We are all for competitiveness and open tender on a level playing field. In business, we have to be competitive. However, we are concerned about the definition of fairness as the playing field is not level among the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities,” he said.
Rizal Faris, however, asserted that the chamber did not want to encourage the subsidy culture.
He said the federal government had been pumping in billions of ringgit to help those marginalised over the last 50 years but noted that the Malays had yet to reach the competitive level.
“Maybe, how the money was not well spent. We have to change our approach and review how we do things to be able to create competitiveness,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters Wednesday after a courtesy call by 43 members of the chamber, the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Penang and the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry Penang on Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at his office here.
Rizal Faris said this was the first “interface” with Lim and his whole line of state executive councillors, and requested a separate session for Malay entrepreneurs involving his chamber, the Penang Malay Economic and Business Council and the Penang Muslim League.
In response, Lim said certain things were beyond the state’s control and the government had to follow the state treasury’s guidelines when it came to open tenders.
“That is the advice from the State Legal Advisor. Our scope is limited,” he said, and reiterated that the open tender system was for economic growth in Penang so that everyone could share in the prosperity.