Malay-centric policies to blame says DAP MP

Grab is raising US$40 billion and that could be the biggest game changer in the e-hailing industry in Asia!

The listing of Grab in the US is now the yardstick used by local MPs to blame Malay-centric policies in Malaysia.

These policies have existed for generations and were always the target of the Democratic Action Party. But blaming it for the successful IPO of Grab is extreme.

The e-hailing service company known as Grab raised US$40 billion in the US. The success story put Singapore, not Malaysia, in the limelight.

The only reason Malaysia is mentioned in articles regarding this huge IPO is that Grab was a Malaysian startup. But the company moved to Singapore to seek greener pastures.

Nevertheless, Focus Malaysia says several MPs have urged the Malaysian government to revise its economic policy. They blame its Bumiputra-centric approach. 

Bumiputra is the name given to Malays and indigenous communities in Malaysia. It means the son of the soil.

The Malaysian government promotes policies giving special treatment to the Malay-Muslims and other Bumiputera citizens.

The online publication quotes Charles Santiago, an MP in Kuala Lumpur, who lambasts what he calls “the Malaysian Government’s approach on equity ownership, with its Malay-centric policy.”

CHANGE THE STARTUP POLICIES?

Santiago also says Malaysia is a small market like Singapore or Hong Kong. But startups like to migrate to these jurisdictions.

“I think a lot of our businesses have issues with our Government’s approach on equity ownership, with its Malay-centric policy,” says the Klang MP Charles Santiago.

Last week (April 13) Grab announced it would go public in the US, in partnership with Altimeter Growth Corp. This alone tells the story. 

There are not companies that can partner with Grab in Malaysia. Grab left Malaysia to continue its startup business in Singapore.

It raised funds from Singapore, not from Malaysia at the start of its operation in the tiny republic. It is not a Malaysian company any more.

They left because Malaysia was not ready for startups. Indeed, there are very few Malaysian startups that can boast success in the country.

For a startup boss who spoke to WorldFuture, Malaysia cannot compete at this level. 

“So no need to bother. Whatever Santiago says it does not matter and is not linked to any policies, bumiputra or not,” he says.

“And remember SPAC is simply selling the stakes of the ‘future’ plan. Grab said it is thinking of getting listed in Singapore. But it raises funds in the US, away from Singapore!”

“And if you want to go a little bit deeper, the dual listing is common for Chinese company too. So what’s the big deal?”

WHERE IS SINGAPORE IN ALL THIS?

Santiago says Grab’s venture in the US may demoralise startups and others in the local gig economy.

He adds this gives an impression Malaysia may not be suitable to “house” their ventures.

“It looks like the private sector don’t have much confidence in how things are being run in the country for now,” he states.

Perhaps he is not aware of the startup landscape in Malaysia. 

He spent 22 months in power with the Pakatan Harapan government but it appears there is little knowledge about the struggles for startups in the country.

Nevertheless, our Startup boss asks why did Grab run to America to raise US$40 or it could also be US$60 billion?

He says it is the confidence in Singapore that is sapping instead. 

“If they are confident, grab should raise funds in Singapore. The money in Southeast Asia should be in Singapore or at least Hong Kong and Australia’s ASX,” he says.

They should instead say, “Singapore’s policy is the cause for Grab to run to the US.” 

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