Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 30th of September 2021

Convince the MPs and the Public of the positive aspects of ratifying the CPTPP based on the latest developments

We should take the recent new applications to join the CPTPP by the UK, China and Taiwan as positive signs that the CPTPP is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which is worth joining from an economic perspective.

To date, Malaysia has not yet ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and as such, we do not have a say in the setting of the terms and conditions by which to allow these new applicants (and future applicants) to join the CPTPP. To date, eight out of the 11 countries have already ratified the CPTPP including two of our ASEAN neighbours namely Singapore and Vietnam. Only Malaysia, Brunei and Chile have yet to ratify the CPTPP.

Since several amendments have to be passed in parliament in order to ratify the CPTPP, the MITI Minister has the responsibility of convincing the MPs from ALL parties that the positive impact of ratifying the CPTPP will outweigh the costs. These confidence building measures should include the following:

  1. Listing all the amendments which need to be passed in parliament in order to ratify the CPTPP in the interest of transparency (To date, MITI has not released a list of these amendments yet).
  2. Explain how the implementation of each of these amendments can result in positive outcomes for specific segments of the Malaysian economy and also for the larger population, especially for the workforce and the consumer.
  3. Calculate the potential benefits to Malaysia of the new applicants to join the CPTPP. How much more will Malaysia benefit from China joining the CPTPP given that we already have an FTA with China via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)? What about the UK and Taiwan? For this, MITI needs to update the cost benefit analysis which was conducted for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2015.[1]
  4. Examine the preliminary evidence of positive economic impact from the countries which have already ratified the CPTPP, taking into account the impact of COVID19 on the global economy.
  5. Explain the difference between countries which have already ratified the CPTPP and those which have not yet ratified the agreement when it comes to participation in the various committees for the CPTPP and in each of the 5 CPTPP Commissions which have met since 2019.

The process of explaining the benefits of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to ALL MPs is an important test of the sincerity of the Keluarga Malaysia government in the process of engagement. A good start will be the engagement process that the MITI Minister chooses to undertake in explaining the amendments to Malaysian laws in order to ratify RCEP.

I sincerely hope that the MITI Minister will not take the support of Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs for granted with respect to FTA ratification just because we have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the government.


[1] https://fta.miti.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/tpp

Kenyataan Media oleh Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Ahli Parlimen Bangi merangkap Pembantu Pengarah Pendidikan Politik Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP) pada 17 Julai 2021

Terima kasih atas peluang yang diberikan untuk memainkan peranan yang membina dalam Operasi Lonjakan Kapasiti di Lembah Klang

Saya ingin berterima kasih kepada YAB Dato Seri Amirudin Shari, Menteri Besar Selangor, kerana memberikan saya peluang untuk mengkoordinasi peningkatan proses vaksinasi COVID19 dalam industri di Selangor bersama dengan agensi kerajaan persekutuan yang berkenaan sebagai sebahagian daripada “Operasi Lonjakan Kapasiti” (OLK). Tujuan OLK ini adalah untuk memastikan setiap orang dewasa di Lembah Klang (Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur) menerima sekurang-kurangnya SATU dos vaksin Covid-19 menjelang 1 Ogos. Saya juga ingin berterima kasih kepada Menteri Koordinasi Vaksin COVID19, YB Khairy Jamaluddin kerana bersetuju untuk mengadakan temujanji ini dan juga untuk inisiatif beliau untuk melaksanakan OLK memandangkan terdapat jumlah kes COVID19 yang sangat tinggi di Lembah Klang dalam dua minggu yang lepas. Saya tidak sabar untuk bekerjasama dengan Dato’ Teng Chang Kim, yang bertanggungjawab ke atas pelaksanaan program industri SELVAX di Selangor bersama dengan pasukan beliau yang berkebolehan di SELCARE, dan juga dengan Senator Dato’ Lim Ban Hong, Timbalan Menteri MITI yang bertanggungjawab ke atas pelaksanaan program PIKAS untuk sektor pembuatan di Malaysia bersama dengan pasukannya yang berkebolehan di MITI.

Masih terdapat banyak kerja untuk dilakukan untuk meningkatkan kapasiti pemberian vaksin yang akan menyaksikan 1.3 juta dos vaksin diedarkan daripada 26 Julai sehingga 1 Ogos 2021, di mana kira-kira 500,000 dos akan diedarkan kepada pekerja di industri (250,000 untuk program SELVAX dan 250,000 untuk program PIKAS MITI). Perkara ini bermakna kapasiti harian di Lembah Klang perlu ditingkatkan daripada 180,000 dos sehari (purata 14 ke 18 Julai) kepada 210,000 dos sehari (untuk tempoh dari 19 Julai ke 25 Julai) dan kemudiannya ditingkatkan lagi ke sekurang-kurangnya 272,000 dos sehari untuk tempoh di antara 26 Julai ke 1 Ogos (lihat Rajah 1 di bawah). Perkara ini memerlukan peningkatan edaran dos vaksin di PPV sedia ada di bawah PICK, dan juga 5 tempat di bawah program SELVAX sedia ada, dan pusat PIKAS yang akan dibuka tidak lama lagi di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur. 

MITI dan SELCARE (yang melaksanakan program SELVAX) perlu memastikan terdapat koordinasi di antara kedua-dua badan ini untuk mengelakkan pertindihan di antara syarikat yang mahu memberikan vaksin kepada pekerja mereka dalam tempoh pelaksanaan OLK ini. Perlu juga terdapat komunikasi yang jelas di antara MITI dan SELCARE untuk mengenal pasti syarikat yang telah mendaftar untuk kedua-dua program (SELVAX dan PIKAS) dan mengenal pasti syarikat yang belum mendaftar untuk mana-mana program. Sebagai contoh, syarikat yang rela dan mampu membayar untuk program SELVAX patut kekal dengan program tersebut manakala syarikat yang tidak mampu untuk mendapatkan vaksin melalui program SELVAX boleh menunggu dan memohon kepada program PIKAS MITI. Lebih banyak tempat pemberian vaksin PIKAS dan SELVAX mungkin perlu dibuka untuk membolehkan pengedaran lebih banyak vaksin. 

SELCARE juga perlu bekerjasama dengan MySejahtera untuk memastikan status mereka yang telah divaksinasikan dengan program SELVAX dikemaskini secepat mungkin supaya mereka tidak pula diberikan slot vaksinasi dalam MySejahtera. Kebolehan MySejahtera untuk mengemaskini pangkalan data mereka untuk mengambil kira vaksinasi SELVAX ini amatlah penting dalam membolehkan program OLK ini untuk mencapai objektif vaksinasi penuh di Lembah Klang menjelang 1 Ogos. 

Butiran lain perlu diperkemaskan oleh semua pemegang taruh dalam tempoh minggu hadapan, sebelum OLK bermula dengan kapasiti penuh dalam minggu yang bermula pada 26 Julai 2021. Kita perlu bekerjasama dan meletakkan politik ke tepi untuk membolehkan OLK ini berjaya bagi menurunkan jumlah kes harian COVID19, dan lebih penting lagi, supaya jumlah kes COVID19 yang serius yang memerlukan kemasukan ke hospital dan unit rawatan rapi juga dapat dikurangkan. 

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Bangi and Assistant Political Education Director for the Democratic Action Party (DAP) on the 5th of February, 2021

“Highest ever” trade surplus is actually a sign of a weak domestic economy in Malaysia

There has been some recent media coverage on Malaysia achieving its “highest ever” trade surplus in history in 2020.[1] This was one of the highlights of the media statement by MITI Minister, Azmin Ali, on the 30th of January, 2021.[2] In reality, this “achievement” is nothing to be proud of. In fact, it points to a very weak domestic economy, which is likely to remain lackluster in 2021. Hence, there is no need to be over-optimistic about ever high trade surpluses including in 2021.

Malaysia’s overall trade (exports + imports) decreased by RM67.3 billion or 3.6% from RM1.845 trillion in 2019 to RM1.777 trillion in 2020. Malaysia’s total exports in 2020 decreased by 1.4% or RM14.1 billion compared to 2019. The main reason why Malaysia was able to increase its trade surplus by 26.9% from RM145.7 billion in 2019 to RM184.8 in 2020 is that total imports experienced a large decrease of 6.3% or RM53.2 billion from RM849 billion in 2019 to RM 796.2 billion in 2020. (See Table 1 below).

It was encouraging that Malaysia’s total exports managed to weather the COVID-19 economic uncertainties in 2020. But it would be wrong to ‘boast’ about Malaysia’s highest ever trade surplus that was caused by a large fall in our imports. Lower imports mean that the domestic economic demand was very weak in 2020. This means fewer purchases at the local shopping malls of both imported and locally produced goods which has a negative impact on our retailers. Lower demand for imports is also a leading indicator of weak local economic conditions in the near future. For example, lower imports of machinery and construction materials such as iron and steel mean that the construction industry is likely to remain weak in 2021.

A healthy economy should experience growing exports and also imports which are growing at around the same level as exports (and perhaps slightly more). While trade under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government did shrink by 2.5% in 2019, this was not accompanied by negative GDP growth. In fact, the GDP grew by 4.3% under PH in 2019 while it is expected to contract by at least 4% in 2020 under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

With the ongoing MCO 2.0, local demand in Q1 2021 will continue to remain weak. So don’t be too happy when you see MITI announcing another “highest ever” trade surplus in the next few months. We are in for a challenging 2021 despite the optimistic GDP growth projection by the Ministry of Finance of between 6.5% to 7.5% for the year.


[1] https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/01/31/malaysias-trade-on-firm-footing and https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/malaysias-total-trade-shrinks-36-yoy-rm18-trillion-tandem-softer-global-demand-due-covid19

[2] https://www.miti.gov.my/miti/resources/Media%20Release/Media_Statement_-_Malaysia_External_Trade_Statistics.pdf