Whoever is elected to bear important economic portfolios needs to be responsible, as well as adheres to integrity and sense
by AZALEA AZUAR
ALTHOUGH a majority of the industry players are politically neutral, they are willing to forge a closer working relationship with the new government after the 15th General Election (GE15) on Nov 19.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology (UniKL MIAT) Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian opines that whoever is elected to bear important economic portfolios needs to be responsible, as well as adheres to integrity and sense.
“Within the aviation industry, the stakeholders set the tone for the direction of the industry and also play a role in the acquisition of aircrafts and equipment.
“Technicians, engineers, pilots and others that toiled and worked upon aircrafts have the technical knowhow and knowledge to assess and evaluate technical requirement for future acquisition of equipment and aircraft, but somehow, in a hypothetical context, there were plausibly cases where their denotations and recommendations were surpassed by individuals that have no prior knowledge in aviation but have the ingrained political connections,” he spoke to The Malaysian Reserve recently.
Appoint the Right Individual to the Right Portfolio
Mohd Harridon added that those appointed in regulating the aviation sector should also ensure aircrafts and equipment that have been purchased are up to par and within the technical requirements.
“This is not only important to stakeholders but prevents the depression and depreciation of the aviation ecosystem and the Malaysian economy,” he said, while stressing that mismatching purchase and demand will create substantial wastages in the long run or in a designated time frame.
“This incongruence is proportional to the economic despair where an increase in incongruence would evidently see an increase in economic despair.
“This should be abhorred and thus the divorce between political connections and aviation projects is resoundingly or emphatically welcomed,” Mohd Harridon added.
Therefore, the professor wishes that GE15 will be conducted in a fair and orderly manner so that the appropriate representatives who will assume office can bear their responsibilities with integrity and be guided with principles.
Meanwhile, the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom) chairman Dr Sean Seah said the association is looking forward to forge a closer working relationship with the government post-GE15 in fulfilling the nation’s agenda in digitalisation and improving the country’s economic situation.
“Pikom represents more than 1,000 tech companies in Malaysia, with businesses covering the entire spectrum of the tech industry including software development, cyber security, digital infrastructure, IT services, value added resellers and distributors, data centres operators, managed service providers, cloud service providers, analytics, artificial intelligence, space technology and e-commerce, among others.
“Some of the challenges that our members have faced include having to go to different ministries for different business purposes due to the overlap in certain roles of the ministries,” he said.
Seah wishes that the government can consider setting up a Digital Ministry to oversee Malaysia’s digital transformation plan and all the matters related to digital and ICT.
On the other hand, Winacore Capital founder and investment director Ashwin Chockalingam expressed his concern that the big budgets allocated for start-ups have not benefitted the ecosystem largely.
“There has been a lack of voice from the current candidates on building a more vibrant ecosystem for the start-up but I would like to see more targeted programmes and tax incentives built to further empower the venture capital (VC) and start-up ecosystem,” he said.
Ashwin also hopes that the government can focus on stamp duty exemptions on venture debt, wider low tax band for start-ups and for tax incentives that are applicable for Securities Commission Malaysia’s registered VC firms to be expanded to non-registered VC firms.
On that note, ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital ED Anwar Anis believes that long-term partnership between public and private healthcare in Malaysia will benefit both the government and private sector.
“The waiting lists in public hospitals are long and they can be reduced when there is a structure of long-term arrangement for private hospitals and centres to help reduce and maintain a short waiting time.
“This is especially effective for elective procedures which can enhance a patient’s productivity,” he said.
Anwar also advises the new government to put certain emphasise on the ageing society issue which includes the necessary social safety nets, proper care facilities and also post-hospitalisation care and support.
“The government should consider partnering the many physio and homecare organisations to ensure patients have good compliance to post-hospital care, including physiotherapy, wound care and others.
“An ageing population also typically means reduced mobility due to various issues — for example, orthopaedic-related issues — where they can be addressed with proper intervention, and where surgery is needed,” he said, adding that one of the ways to lift the burden of those without insurance is through implant subsidies to ensure the elderly patients can have good mobility, thus independence even as they age.
“At the same time, grants or personal subsidies to access health technologies can propel and develop healthcare technology such as robotics and 3D printing,” he said.
To enable Malaysia to serve a greater number of patients, Anwar urges the new government to introduce competitive and facilitative immigration policies for healthcare travellers.
“This initiative will not only lower the cost of investment in health-related technologies and equipment, but also enable more Malaysians to have access to it.
“Some of our neighbouring countries continue to attract patients from a number of different countries, despite being less competitive overall than Malaysia, primarily due to the ease of arriving into the country.
“Thus, they are able to invest in technology such as proton beam, as fee paying foreign patients ensure there is a sufficient volume of patients for these advanced and latest modalities,” he explained.
Insufficient Assistance for Hotel Industry
On a separate issue, National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Peninsular Malaysia secretary general Rosli Affandi said the government assistance to the hotel industry is insufficient for its recovery.
“Nothing was done enough for the hotel sector by the previous government although the worst impacted sector is the hotel sector.
“Some of our members are still jobless and still looking for jobs. Nothing has been done for the hoteliers,” he said.
Rosli, however, highlighted that hotel businesses are still going as usual but they are expecting more bookings during the GE15 period as many will be heading back to their hometowns to vote.
His statement nevertheless contradicts with the revelation by Malaysian Association of Hotels Kedah and Perlis Chapter chairman Eugene Dass that Malaysians have been cancelling their hotel bookings in favour of voting for GE15.
He said cancellations have increased from 15% to 20% and he expects the percentage to go up as the date gets nearer to the polling day.
However, the hotel occupancy rate is still normal at 50% and it has not reached the peak yet.
“This is due to many people will be heading back to their hometowns to vote. The hotels are still busy after the gathering. In Langkawi, Kedah, the booking is over the peak,” he said, while pointing out that the Malaysian Employers Federation has suggested for polling day to be consider as a public holiday.
- This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition