View issues with Tan Seng Giaw

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Will there be integrity in the Malaysian public and private sectors?

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) is restructured to instil integrity in the public sector and to make it easier to do business in the country.

Dr Tan believes that we should take "Doing Business in 2006" report by the World Bank seriously.

In the 2006 Budget, the Government emphasizes on making Malaysia more business-friendly. Apparently, the Cabinet has directed Mampu and National Economic Action Council (NEAC) to go through the report by the World Bank. This is reasonable. We hope that the two organizations will come out with workable solutions to overcome the weaknesses in Malaysia.

The report lists Malaysia at 21st in terms of ease of doing business and 101th in dealing with licenses compared to other countries in the world. Is it true that a businessman has to go through 25 procedures and 226 days to build a warehouse? How many agencies does a developer go through before he or she is able to get a development order for a project?

Since the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been serious on introducing integrity in the country, Mampu has been trying to improve the delivery system such as by having a pilot project in the Ulu Langat and Kuala Kangsar District Councils. If this pilot project is successful, it should be introduced nationwide, to 142 other local governments.

We need to revamp Mampu, to make it more efficient. Besides looking at the World Bank report, we should review all aspects in the public and private sectors. Efforts are being made to improve the airports like KLIA and the immigration checkpoints. But, we still have a long way to go. The mammoth task of dealing with illegal immigrants and the irregularities makes us wonder. Administrative burdens, licenses, permits and various overcomplicated regulations boggle the mind.

It seems that applications for permits and licenses are faster. But, people still give under-the-table payments. Approval of projects and procurement are still not based on fairer criteria.

We want Malaysia to be more competitive. After the 1987 cirsis, Malaysian ringgit was pegged to the US dollar. On the other hand, Korea and Thailand did not do so. They suffered more. Nevertheless, they have emerged more competitive. Look at the problems in automotive industry and Malaysian Airlines System (MAS). Why? Granted, there are still areas in which Malaysia may be better than Thailand such as less overt corruption. How long will it be before Thailand overtakes Malaysia in all fields?

Tan Seng Giaw


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