The Next Four Years: What Now for Malaysia?

IDEAS Public Forum – 28th June 2019 – Connexion, 7 Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur

Mr Ali Salman, CEO of IDEAS

YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, MP for Batang Sadong

Ms Cynthia Gabriel, Executive Center, C4

Mr Laurence Todd, Director of Research, IDEAS

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Selamat pagi, Good Morning and Salam Malaysia Baru

Firstly, I want to thank IDEAS for giving me the honour of saying a few words at this public forum. IDEAS, from its establishment until now, has always encouraged open and constructive dialogue. Under Malaysia Baru, the room for constructive dialogue has expanded significantly and I look forward to more inputs to the new government from IDEAS and also possible areas of cooperation.

Secondly, allow me to extend my congratulations to Laurence and his team for their hard work in the preparation of the 2nd Projek Pantau Report Card including Faiz Zaidi and Aira Azhari, the lead researchers and not forgetting the research interns, Afifa Sahirin and Aiman Wan Alias. In the past, most people in Malaysia, including researchers, would not pay much attention to the manifesto promises of the winning coalition AFTER the general election, much less come up with a report to track the progress of the manifesto. This time, after GE14, I’m glad that IDEAS is committed to systematically track Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 manifesto on the bi-annual basis. As one of the authors of the PH Manifesto, I am glad that at least someone is paying attention. But at the same time, this also places more pressure on PH to deliver on our promises. This is one of the most tangible signs of how Malaysia has changed after GE14 – the fact that promises actually mean something and people expect them to be delivered.

Slightly over a year after GE14, this public forum is asking a very relevant question – What is the plan for Malaysia for the next four years? There are three areas of focus which the Pakatan Harapan should and will focus on to show that we can deliver our promises (or at least a majority of them) in the next 4 years. They are: (1) Continue to systematically deliver on PH’s GE14 Manifesto Promises (2) Identify and Implement new strategies to propel economic growth and create well-paying jobs and (3) Ensure the well-being of the B40.

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Cautious Optimism on the Economic Outlook for the 2nd Half of 2019 as Pakatan Harapan (PH) Approaches its First Year in Government

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) on the 8th of May, 2019

When the Quarterly Confidence Indicator for the 1st Quarter of 2019 was published by the Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM), in the Business Tendency Survey report, this figure dropped to negative 2.2% from positive 7.1% in Q4 2018.[1] The February 2019 figure for the Leading Index Economic Indicator, also published by DOSM, showed a 2.2% fall from 118.9 to 116.3, the largest fall since April 2009.[2] The Nikkei Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for March 2019, published by IHS-Markit, a market research firm, showed a figure of 47.2, the sixth straight month for which this index was under the 50 mark (more on the significance of this later).[3] Total trade for the first quarter declined by 1.5%. The negative news surrounding the Malaysian economy in the 1st quarter of 2019 was also felt “on the ground” through slower retail sales.

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Reminders and Resolutions for 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, I thought it would be a useful exercise to list down ten reminders for myself based on my 5 months as the Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry (MITI). These reminders also double up as my resolutions for 2019 in so far as my Ministry duties are concerned.

1)      DO NOT forget the GE14 Pakatan Harapan (PH) Manifesto

The GE14 PH Manifesto is, currently,  the only guiding document and reference point for the PH government in terms of governing philosophy and objectives. While the Prime Minister and his cabinet have and will come up with new policy decisions based on current political and economic circumstances, we cannot and should not depart from the core principles of the PH Manifesto which includes a commitment to greater transparency, institutional reform, a more competitive economy and looking after the needs of the marginalized.

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