By Center for Market Education

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--While Malaysia is preparing for the next general elections (GE15), and political parties are busy with the fine-tuning of the list of candidates and their manifestos, the Center for Market Education (CME) invites all the coalitions to base their campaign on contents, programs and ideas.

“So far the discussion is still very much oriented on the candidates that are going to compete in the different constituencies – said Dr Carmelo Ferlito, CEO of CME – while little has emerged on actual contents”.

CME understands that the rapid evolution of the political scenario, which is bringing the country to early elections (which CME advocated for), is forcing political parties to rush against time, but at the same time indicates the need for a different tune in the conversation, in order to help voters to choose on competing programmatic platforms.

The Center for Market Education invites the different coalitions “to show their cards” in particular on the following themes:

1. Investment ecosystem: it is no mystery that the past years have been marked by a deterioration of Malaysia’s ability to nurture domestic and international investments and it is therefore necessary for political parties to indicate if they do believe in the need of rebuilding a business-friendly eco-system by cutting red tape and lifting the government heavy hand on the economic system in order to create a sustainable growth path; furthermore, they need to indicate how they eventually intend to pursue such a target.

2. Labour market: CME believes that there is the need for an education reform to tackle the issue of underemployment, while more opportunities can be created with an ASEAN liberalization of the movement of workers. What is the agenda of political parties at this regard?

3. Economic slowdown: as CME warned as early as May 2021, wrong choices embraced during the Covid-19 has brought the world to a fragile economic recovery followed by an inflation-led downturn, which is now aggravated by the evolution of the geopolitical scenario. Will the competing coalitions face the economic wave which is coming with more controls and central direction or by embracing market-oriented reforms, and in particular reforming taxation and cutting government spending?

The list does not exhaust the series of issues that the future government will have to face with courage, but it aims to serve as a starting point for a more content-based campaign.

“The new government will face challenging times, but desperation should not prevail: with the right approach and brave reforms, the economic system can be supported in its path through the fluctuations that are coming”, concluded Dr Carmelo Ferlito.

“However – he added – it is important to know more about what each coalition has in mind in this regard rather than simply focusing on the names of the candidates”.