Sep 03 2010
I recently wrote a paper on whether globalization is good for Malaysia or not, as an assignment for the subject International Business Management & Policy in my MBA study.
To complete the 4000-word essay (I managed to write 2800 words only), I thought of 10 points and expanded from there. I published in Facebook before and have drawn many comments.
Here are the 10 points for sharing to all. Welcome to comment and criticize. I’d like to discuss and learn from your viewpoints.
The question “Is globalization good or bad for Malaysia?” is not relevant any more. Globalization will happen and is happening to all countries including Malaysia, no matter it’s good or bad.
Quoting an unusual example – The late Qing dynasty in China in late 19th century and early 20th century. They locked the country out from the rest of the world. Unlike the Meiji Restoration that propelled their neighbour Japan into a world power in just a few decades, the Qing dynasty eventually fell in 1911. Refuse to follow the world trend? It’s either downfall or extinction.
The 10 Points
#1 Malaysian businesses need the global market. The local market is just too small. It’s a matter of survival in the globalized 21st century. Don’t be content with just being a jaguh kampung (champion in home country).
#2 Malaysia needs to specialize. Want to get out of the middle income trap? Do something new, something different. Don’t insist on attracting FDI in labor-intensive businesses. Move up the value chain.
#3 We have been trying to “prepare” for globalization for too long time, even decades. It’s true some of us, some industries, some businesses are not ready. But when will we be ready? Perhaps when we are truly ready, we are irrelevant in the world economy any more.
#4 Globalization raises our competitiveness. Being a frog in a well (Malay proverb: katak dalam tempurung) does not improve our competitiveness. In business, it’s only when we face the real challenges that we grow. Just open up and the competition will hasten up our readiness.
#5 Globalization raises our human capital. Yes, brain drain is a real problem. But don’t dwell on it too long. How about using these “drained brain” in overseas for our advantage instead? How about getting foreign talents into our country instead? Who say Malaysia can’t attract talents? Learn from Mind Valley, the Google workplace of Malaysia.
#6 When we close ourselves out, people will not admire us. When we become an open book and have transparency, investors will come. A 81% drop in FDI is a wake-up call, much too late. Learn the lesson and open up.
#7 Communities in Malaysia have been sharing the same country, yet living segregated. But our diversity should be a great blessing to foray into the largest markets in world. Globalized Malaysian businesses with true partnership among different races and spirit of 1Malaysia can help national unity.
#8 We are living in an integrating, interdependent world economy. We need to keep up this reality. Want to close our market? Check the fate of Qing dynasty.
#9 We are good in many areas. We have leadership in many markets, such as Islamic finance and palm oil. Why can’t we excel in other areas as well? Malaysia Boleh (Malaysia can)? Don’t be defeatist. Think boleh and we boleh!
#10 I never advocate opening up 100% completely without reservation. There are limits. But we need to embrace globalization and even be an advocate in it. Globalization will change us, for the better.
What do you think of globalization? Is it good or bad for Malaysia? Welcome to voice your opinions.