Time to liberalise Malaysian economy

IT is time for the government to consider liberalising the economy in order to boost investors’ confidence in Malaysia.

Speaking to FocusM, K Konsult Group chief executive officer, Koong Lin Loong, said that the current economic climate, ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, provided great opportunity for Malaysia to embrace free market practices.

“The government should not be involved in business. Instead, it should facilitate businesses and adopt market friendly policies to boost investors’ confidence,” he noted.

Koong added that the government should think out of the box, given the unprecedented circumstances, and create a competitive edge for Malaysia.

“For now, Thailand is rocked by street protests. Singapore is a good country to invest but things are getting too expensive there. While Cambodia and Vietnam are rising, they still have issues in terms of infrastructure.

“So what is Malaysia doing despite having everything in place? I believe we are not doing enough to attract not only foreign direct investments but also domestic direct investments,” he remarked.

Koong, who is also the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) national council and SME chairman, said that Malaysia should always strive to get investments from the two economic powerhouses of the world, the US and China.

“With more businesses investing here, it will create employment opportunities for locals. With that, the government can also receive more revenue via taxes,” he told FocusM.

Keep key sectors under local control

Commenting on the matter, Tricor Malaysia Sdn Bhd chairman Veerinderjeet Singh also welcomed Koong’s suggestions.

However, Veerinderjeet urged caution when liberalising the economy as he believed that some strategic economic sectors needed to remain under local control for national security purposes.

“We cannot allow foreigners to take control of sectors such as food production.

“In my view, the energy sector should also be kept under our control but air carrier industry can be liberalised,” he stated.

“The government should also stop giving government-linked companies (GLC) preferential treatments and allow them to compete with the private sector for business opportunities,” Veerinderjeet suggested.

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