“Consider Economic Sabotage Act to criminalise actions that result in economic damage,” SAMENTA tells govt

THE Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) has called on the government to consider enacting an Economic Sabotage Act to curb actions by individuals and groups, including politicians, that result in permanent damage to the economy.

SAMENTA president Datuk William Ng said on top of criminalising the “resale” of government contracts and import permits, an Economic Sabotage Act should also target cartels that monopolise government contracts and manipulate prices of essential goods.

“This would encourage fairer competition, provide consumers with more choice, and lower the costs of doing business and the costs of living for Malaysians,” Ng said in a statement on Tuesday (April 2).

Given the rise of recent arson attacks on several KK Mart outlets and organised boycotts on private businesses, he said an Economic Sabotage Act should also criminalise acts by individuals and organisations that promote, encourage or carry on any act of sabotage on businesses.

Ng said the Act should carry severe custodial penalties to commensurate with the long-term repercussions of such acts on the country’s economy and the livelihood of Malaysians.

“Our current laws do not penalise organised boycotts nor do they criminalise acts of encouraging such boycotts,” he stated.

“This has allowed perpetrators, including politicians, to continue doing so with impunity, while businesses struggle, employees lose their jobs and livelihoods, and the country’s reputation as a trading nation and investment destination takes a severe beating. This must not be allowed to continue.”

The Economic Sabotage Act was first mooted by the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption in 2018 to address abuses of government contracts and to curb the “Ali Baba” practice.

“Ali Baba” is a business practice in which those who win projects or contracts then sub-contract the real work to others for a profit.

The term also applies to locals who own businesses but rent them out to foreigners to operate.

Following a change in government and the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed Act was never tabled. – April 2, 2024


Main pic credit: FMT

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