MP SPEAKS | The response by EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham) CEO Sven Schneider to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz's statement on approved Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Domestic Direct Investment (DDI) in Malaysia has gone viral on social media.
I do believe that the problem identified in Schneider's response – not being able to seek an appointment with the finance minister – is part of a larger problem currently faced by long-term investors and companies in Malaysia. He is expressing part of the frustration which many companies are feeling because of the lack of consistent policies by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The foreign chambers of commerce here in Malaysia value a close and cooperative working relationship with the government of the day. I very much found this to be the case when I was the deputy minister for the international trade and industry ministry (Miti) from July 2018 to February 2020.
There will always be issues that these chambers will raise to the government on behalf of their member companies but seldom will these issues be escalated into the public realm. But under the PN government, the lack of consistent policy has made the already challenging business climate even worse, including for these foreign multinational companies (MNCs).
The hastily implemented first movement control order (MCO) in March 2020 which caused Malaysia’s 2nd quarter 2020 GDP to plummet by 17.1 percent, the haphazard entry ban on all foreign nationals from countries with more than 150,000 Covid-19 cases, and the current uncertainties over what MCO 2.0 will entail are all but examples of the lack of direction and consistency in policymaking under the PN government...