Week in Review: Picking yourself up from a stumble, and MOL
By A. Asohan October 10, 2014
- Being ‘pro-rakyat’ is nice, but Budget 2015 should also have some fiscal discipline
- It’s okay to stumble as long as you pick yourself up, as MOL Global will probably do
IF you’re Malaysian and reading this not long after it went up, you’re probably multitasking, with one part of your mind firmly fixed on what Prime Minister Najib Razak is tabling as part of his Budget 2015 proposal.
The annual national budget is essentially the nation’s blueprint for how it intends to hit its economic and national development targets.
Budget 2015 is special though – it will be the last one tabled as part of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), and with no general election looming, it will hopefully not be an ‘election budget’ full of populist measures to win votes and plunge the country even deeper into debt.
There is some fear of that, with Najib – also the Finance Minister – promising that Budget would be ‘pro-rakyat’ (citizenry). I hope that does not mean more handouts and short-sighted placebos, but solid programmes that will bring our economy forward.
Handouts will not help the people face the rising cost of living but will only put off our day of economic reckoning, so I wouldn’t mind a bit of fiscal discipline here.
Usually the end of any of the Malaysia Plans – five year national programmes – would be a good time to evaluate whether the country has hit its targets, or is at least on track to do so. We can only hope that we get some clarity on where we actually stand.
It’s okay to admit that you have stumbled here or there. Failing is not a bad thing, as anyone in the startup space will tell you, as long as you can pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Indeed, the ability to move on is the essence of one of the three policy recommendations that the Technopreneurs Association of Malaysia (TeAM) has made to the Government for Budget 2015: To review our bankruptcy laws so that entrepreneurs who stumble financially do not have an albatross around their neck for perpetuity. The TeAM is asking for an automatic discharge after three years.
Talking about stumbles, the most eagerly-awaited event of the Malaysian startup ecosystem – indeed, the South-East Asian ecosystem – turned out to be a bit of a dud.
We’re talking about MOL Global’s listing on Nasdaq, where it failed to hit its targets. The International Financing Review described it as “one of the weakest US IPO (initial public offering) debuts of all time.”
It declined by “as much as 35% in its initial session even after reducing the size of the deal by as much as 40% and pricing the offering at the bottom end of the marketing range,” wrote Anthony Hughes.
The listing exercise may not have netted MOL Global the US$300 million it had aimed for, but I’m guessing the disappointment won’t weigh too much on chief executive officer Ganesh Kumar Bangah’s mind.
He has plans, and they’re still on track. He will just have to roll up his sleeves and fight the good fight all over again … like any good entrepreneur.
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