Amcham: Aggressive anti-counterfeit campaign vital

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 23 Apr 2003

THE American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) has emphasised the need for greater law enforcement and higher penalties to enforce intellectual property rights (IPRs) in Malaysia.  

In its dialogue paper to the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), the chamber said that counterfeiting of “optical media”, CDs, VCDs, DVDs and CD-ROMs, as well as drugs and fast-moving consumer goods such as biscuits, shampoos and batteries, was a problem that should be dealt with by initiating aggressive anti-counterfeiting campaigns and imposing higher penalties.  

Amcham also maintained that there were brands in the market that claimed to be “made in the US” or some other country and even bear logos or flags of the country of origin, but that these brands or products did not exist or were not even registered in the so-called country of origin. 

Amcham, representing one of the biggest groups of investors in the country and a big player in the electronics and electrical (E&E) sector, brought up a host of issues and proposals to address these problems. 

Touching on the large number of E&E manufacturers and supporting industries located in Penang, it said the number of flights to Penang was insufficient. 

Amcham said that the rerouting of E&E raw materials and end products via the KL International Airport and Changi Airport in Singapore was inefficient and costly.  

It said this could be minimised if there were more flights to Penang, noting that MAS must review the situation immediately and consider adding international flights to and from Penang.  

On investment policies, Amcham contended that tax rates, equity structure requirements and other restrictive investment policies hindered decisions by prospective investors and re-investors. 

It said despite the government's flexibility with individual multinational companies already present in the country, the selective process was not transparent to potential foreign investors and was a barrier to new foreign inflows. 

It proposed a one-stop centre to address all issues pertaining to investment, including immigration issues, and that the centre look into allowing greater flexibility in its equity structure requirements, shortening processing times, studying investment strategies adopted by neighbouring countries, and ensuring all government officials involved in attracting foreign direct investments be empowered to handle negotiations from start to end. 

In the area of foreign workers, Amcham suggested a need to reduce red tape and improve public administration, while formulating consistent policies.  

It also called for greater flexibility in the hiring of expatriates and the relaxing of work permit regulations for their spouses. 

Amcham also noted that fresh graduates with technical and engineering qualifications were not equipped with the skills required by the high-tech and information and communications technology sectors, and that courses offered were too “generic” in nature. 

It proposed compulsory industry attachments for graduating engineers and technicians. 

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