Chinese businesses in Malaysia want ‘less politicking’ in 2023, focus on policies where ‘no one is left behind’
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Malaysia could do with “less politicking” and come up with more inclusive policies that will catapult the nation’s economy further in the Year of The Rabbit, the 102-year old Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said today.
Its president Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan said the “unity government” which was formed after the 15th general election is expected to bring about political stability and provide clear policy direction to steer Malaysia back to sustainable development.
“We hope the government will continue to build an inclusive and racial harmony society through public policy consensus building and based on the principles of power and economic prosperity sharing -- no one is left behind,” he said at ACCCIM's Chinese New Year open house here that was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other members of his Cabinet.
Low said ACCCIM believes the most essential pre-conditions to ensure continued economic prosperity in a shared future would be maintaining a stable political environment that is corruption-free and with better governance, highly-efficient public delivery services and a conducive economic ecosystem.
ACCCIM, one of the oldest business chambers in Malaysia currently represents more than 118,000 members from the local business community.
It has its own think-tank named the Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) and actively participates in meetings with the government such as the Economic Action Council.
Low said ACCCIM has submitted a comprehensive policy report titled “Build a Better Malaysia” – touching on political institutions, socio and economic research – to the prime minister and hoped its recommendations will be taken into consideration.
“We believe that both public-private sectors’ collective strength and a strengthened sense of togetherness can rebuild an inclusive, progressive, united and harmonious Malaysia,” he said.
Low offered four proposals to the government to boost the economy, investments and make doing business less costly.
The first proposed priority is to carry out institutional reforms to boost investors' confidence which would help the economy grow and increase investment levels, as institutional problems create uncertainty, unnecessary red tape and hinders the process of setting up and running businesses in Malaysia.
“Second, less politicking and focus on country development and rakyat welfare,” he said.
To overcome the challenges of inflation and cost of living pressures, Low said a mix of short-term and medium-term measures would be needed, including targeted direct cash assistance, targeted subsidies for essentials as well as price controls.
On top of increasing food supply and lowering production costs, Low advocated against anti-competitive regulations and policies that he said would harm low-income consumers.
Low said market competition must be encouraged to also curtail cartels at various stages of supply chains.
The third proposed priority is for the implementation of progressive and moderate policies and to enhance a conducive environment for businesses and investment.
“Regulatory and compliance reforms, eradicating corruption as well as enhancing public delivery services are necessary to ease the cost of doing business. Excessive regulations raise business transaction costs and unduly discourage investments; they also lead to corruption," he pointed out.
“Fourth, better stakeholders’ engagement would smoothen the implementation of policy change to avoid flip-flops and remove uncertainty for businesses and investors,” he added.
Earlier on in his speech, Low also expressed hope that Malaysia would continue to remain peaceful and harmonious under the unity government, noting that racial harmony and political stability is the foundation for success, peace, economic prosperity and also shared wealth regardless of race.
Among other things, Low also noted that ACCCIM was chosen to host the 17th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention (WCEC) this September 9, with 4,500 delegates expected – 3,000 from overseas and 1,500 locals – for the event to be held in Kuala Lumpur.
He said this event would enable the country to showcase “Malaysia Truly Asia” and its boundless opportunities, apart from providing business matching opportunities among Chinese entrepreneurs.