KUCHING, Sept 26: The 51 per cent Bumiputera equity rule for freight forwarding companies should be scrapped entirely and not only postponed to December, 2022.
In saying this, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Michael Tiang asserted the rule is unfair regardless of when the authorities decide to enforce it.
“Such rule must be scrapped to protect fair competition in our market, especially under such stringent conditions in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If the 51 per cent Bumiputera equity rule is allowed to be enforced against the existing freight companies whenever they seek to renew their customs licences, no other businesses will be safe from the same fate,” he said in a statement today.
While Prime Minister Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yakoob encouraged a united nation in the spirit of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’, Tiang said the government is acting otherwise with the Bumiputera equity rule which will disrupt business entities established based on their own merits.
Responding to former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim that his ministry had not allowed such enforcement during his tenure, Tiang called on the former to show proof.
“After all, if the Bumiputera equity rule was set down before his (Lim’s) tenure as the Finance Minister, he would have had 22 months to cancel this rule for good and uphold the fairness he emphasised in his recent statement,” said Tiang.
Lim, in a statement on Sept 23, said the 51 per cent Bumiputera equity requirement cannot be applied retrospectively while noting the matter was raised but rejected during his tenure as Finance Minister.
He was responding to an earlier news report where a freight forwarders association demanded clarification from the government on its position on the equity rule, with only months left before the 2021 year-end deadline.
The association highlighted the difficulties faced by freight companies to find Bumiputeras to invest in 51 per cent of the business on such short notice.
If these companies could not meet the criteria by the deadline, they would close down.
The Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders then proposed that the requirement be deferred to the end of next year.
Bumiputera equity was not listed among requirements for licences registered before 1976. A 30 per cent quota was imposed on those registered between 1976 and 1990, and thereafter the 51 per cent requirement.
Meanwhile, no Bumiputera equity is required for licences held by integrated international logistics services providers. — Dayakdaily