On the eve of Pakatan Harapan's first anniversary in power, the business community has given it the thumbs up, describing the performance of the new administration’s mix of experienced politicians and novices as commendable, although there is still room for improvement.
Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce president Tan Yew Sing gave the coalition six marks out of 10, saying it has set the ground rules right despite being in a very difficult situation.
“They definitely have passed, look at the few things they have done, it’s actually been tough, and institutional reforms are the toughest,” he told Bernama News Channel on Astro 502.
Tan was more generous than Prime Minster Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had given his cabinet just five out of 10 marks.
Tan said almost one year into their first term in office, the Harapan government has delivered on about one-third of their economic promises, most notably the swift move to abolish the GST.
Although there are growing rumblings of discontent in the country, the Harapan government still has four years to sort things out, Tan said.
He expressed confidence that the Harapan government would get better and better as time goes, but to do so, it should maintain momentum and communicate its successes clearly to the public in order to build confidence in the government’s performance.
Malaysia popular with investors
Tan said Harapan deserves praise for turning Malaysia into an example of a democracy at work regardless of race or religion.
“Many new regime changes always experience that difficulty in the first year, but they have to have the political will to convince the majority of the population,” he added.
Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming said Malaysia continues to be a preferred destination for foreign investors since Harapan took office in May last year despite the challenging global situation.
He said the small increase of RM200.1 billion in total investment, including foreign direct investment of between RM50 billion and RM80 billion, is a testament to the government's ability to help Malaysia grow.
However, he acknowledged that despite the good numbers recorded, the ministry still faces some challenges.
“One of the key challenges that we have is to navigate trade tensions around the world, and also a lot of backlash against globalisation.
“At the same time, we need to try to make use of this opportunity especially with the US-China trade tensions to see whether we can get good investors to diversify their operations and to come to Malaysia, whether they are Chinese companies, or American, or European companies that have operations in China," added Ong.
He said making Malaysia a major trade and industry country is the ministry's top agenda.