Chamber: Liberalise services sector faster

MALAYSIA should speed up the process of liberalising the services sector to derive multiplier effects from sectors such as financial services, education, private services and communications and maximise the impact of economic growth, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), said. 

It said the services sector contributed 57% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), which was twice the size of the manufacturing sector. 

As such, the sector should be given due recognition for its role in the country’s industrialisation process, MICCI said in its memorandum to the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) in conjunction with the 2004 Miti Annual Dialogue with the private sector yesterday. MICCI also said steps must be taken to make Malaysia an attractive services destination and enhance its regional competitiveness in terms of costs and maintenance of infrastructure. 

As for technological infrastructure, it said that there was a need for the country to invest in broadband infrastructure as broadband uptake in the country was still low compared with countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Japan. 

MICCI also proposed that the Government raise the ceiling price of steel to ensure adequate production, noting that the high cost of steel production had resulted in a shortage of steel. 

Touching on subsidy and tax exemption related to the cement Industry, MICCI said that the Government should consider extending the exemption, which expired last December, in respect of import duties on raw materials and components used directly in the manufacture of cement and clinker. 

A similar extension was also needed in respect of import duties on dutiable machinery and equipment, which were used directly in the manufacturing process and not available locally, it added. 

The Government should also consider extending diesel subsidy to transporters of cement, MICCI said. – Bernama 

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