30% Liberalisation



DS Najib announcement to liberalise 27 services sub-sectors (meaning 30% Bumi quota to be removed in these sectors), received varies response across the region. Opinions such as, whether UMNO has abandoned the idea of Malay Rights has been heard for the past few days.

What does DS najib means by liberalisation? Liberalisation is closely interlinked with globalisation, privatization and free-market. Malaysia, being a FDI-driven country, would hope that this moves would create more foreign investors entering local market. But is this concept which are practised by the western countries are suitable in the local context? What are the price to the local economy? Can DS Najib implement this policy along with his "GLOKAL" slogan? There are many arguments that can be raised depending on how you view it.

Fistly, we need to remember that we have signed up to ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) which it will be implemented in 2010. From this context, DS Najib is preparing us to face the "REAL WORLD" next year. Local players have to "beef up" and be more competitive to face foreign competitors. We have been delaying the implementation for quite some times and its time for us to compete with our neighbouring countries. This will also directly improve Malaysian international economic competitiveness which has been sliding over the past few years.

Secondly, with the existence of such an open market, foreign direct investments (FDIs) will increase and this indirectly will provide more jobs to skilled workers and help raise the income of our people.

However, there are few isssues that the government needs to focus on -

1. Can this policy protects the welafare of the ordinary people, ecspecially the lower income group?

2. The "pro and cons' in the accessibility in critical industris such as health & education

3. Financial sector (financial liberalisation in the developed countries that cause current global crisis)

4. Can foreign players succeed in tourism and transportation industries withour LOCAL players?

5. Will this policy result us in signing the US FTA? (I am personally against this!, look at the mess that they are in now.)

With all the consideration above, we hope that DS Najib is aware of all the precaution in safeguarding the local interest. We are now facing the biggest challenges the nation has ever seen especially the global financial and economic meltdown. Effective measures and policies are critical in order to survive in this 'hard times', yet long-term implication to the domestic economy should not be ignored - FR