Billionaire Branson calls for break up of large GLCs

Smaller, privatised companies can attract foreign investors, says Virgin airways founder

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should break up and privatise large Government-linked companies to increase competition and attract foreign investors, according to Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson.

He said a lot of the local companies were run by the Government and it would be better if they were privatised.

“Break them up into smaller companies for them to compete with each other.

“It will be better if Malaysia can be more liberal and open. It will attract more people to come and invest,” Branson said yesterday.

He cited the success story of AirAsia Bhd and its long-haul carrier AirAsia X and commended them for “doing a good job”.

“They (AirAsia) came with a lower cost base and helped transform Malaysia. And that is because they are more nimble compared with bigger government-run companies,” he said.

Branson said one expected to receive good service whenever one flew Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines.

“It’s bizarre that some American carriers have such dire service and therefore they should continue to fail,” he added.

Last year, Branson and AirAsia group CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes agreed to a bet that between Lotus F1 Racing and Virgin Racing, whoever finished worse at the end of the F1 season would dress up as an airline stewardess of the winner’s airline.

“I think Tony will be fetching in a Virgin stewardess (outfit).

“I think he (Tony) is making an outfit for me as well,” Branson said when asked if he had an outfit ready.

At the conference which was attended by more than 500 delegates, Branson also pointed out the importance of entrepreneurs doing philanthropy work as they had enough financial resources and entrepreneurial skills to help others in need.

“With excessive wealth comes excessive responsibility. I think business leaders have the ability and experience that a politician does not.

“It is also good business sense for a company to do more than just take care of its shareholders,” he said.

Branson, who has hundreds of companies under his stable, advises young entrepreneurs not to be afraid of failure.

“Be brave and bold. Don’t be frightened of failure. I failed too, many times. Learn from failure,” he advised.

He also asked entrepreneurs to enjoy and have fun along the way because life was too short.

“Malaysia has tremendous future. Good luck!” Branson said in his parting remarks.

words from the most exciting billionaire.. Sir Richard Branson. article from The Star Online.

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