Lim's former employee said, "There is the sense that the Government prefers to work with established companies, not start-ups." He was referring to a Lim Kian Wee who funded his own greenfield operation to develop a electric vehicle (EV) with a range of 900 km per charge. Another entrepreneur, Clarence Tan invested $250,000 to realise his own dream of manufacturing a 2-seater air-conditioned EV. Tan also felt that the Government could have done more to support them.
The official initiative Electric Vehicle Taskforce - led by the Energy Market Authority and Land Transport Authority - launched an EV test bed for related technologies in June. The big boys invited include Daimler, Mitsubishi, Bosch, Renault and Nissan.
Tan had sought assistance from the National Research Foundation (NRF) in 2009 to test bed his battery system, but did not even receive an acknowledgement of their request. NRF denies the claim. Their spokesman says proposals are evaluated by expert panels and a successful proof of concept (POC) grant must demonstrate not just technical viability but also a high degree of commercial readiness.
One man must be familiar with the hurdles experienced by innovators like Tan. If Sim Wong Hoo did not pack his bag and headed for the US of A, the world would not have heard of Soundblaster. He, too, was rejected by EDB. Sim coined and made famous the term "No U-turn syndrome" to describe the social behaviour of the Singaporean mindset of conformity to higher authorities before taking any action. The strait jacket has to be cast off if creativity is to bloom.
|Mind the speed bumps ahead|