Will change bring about better opportunities?

THE mood for change and transformation seems to be permeating worldwide. In Malaysia, it started at major companies, including government-linked companies (GLCs), which rolled out their change programmes some time back. Many GLCs are now delivering solid results. 

The economy was successfully transformed many years ago from an agriculture-based into a modern and diversified one with manufacturing and services playing increasingly important roles. 

Companies which changed their business models four to five years ago to incorporate a larger global vision are already reaping the fruits of their labour although some have paid dearly. 

In the present political thrust for change, businesses look forward to better opportunities and for Opposition leaders to deliver their manifesto promises for a more efficient process of approvals and lower cost of doing business. 

Businessmen also look forward to more measures to attract investments as well as those that improve competitiveness, integrity and fairness. 

All said, many Malaysian companies are already globalised in outlook; they consider Malaysia as one of the countries in the world where change is a constant. 

These companies have their strategies to deal with change and only aim to soldier on against all odds. Their earnings base is diversified, and they work hard to win overseas bids with a good track record in place. 

To a certain degree, the change in state governments will rattle investors but much of this will be in the short-term.  

Uncertainty is the bane of any investor and the grey skies that are surrounding the new Opposition-controlled states will be a cause of discomfort in the immediate future.  

But that comes with the game.  

It is to be expected that any new government will have its own ideas and it is the prerogative of the new government, federal or state, to reassess the current economic plans.  

But one thing is for sure; whatever the changes, they should not dramatically alter the economic course of the country.  

Voters have given the Opposition control of several key economically important states, but the electorate would not expect the new state governments to change the course of the economic gravy train.  

People are concerned at all times about their job security and the economic prospects of the country and unpopular decisions that jeopardise any of those two criteria would not be acceptable.  

So the leaders may tweak and reassess projects but the new state governments would not want to shoot themselves in the foot.  

The changes would not only be restricted to economic policies. State government-linked companies, often an instrument for economic development and businesses of the state governments, would get a shake-up if needed.  

At the end of the day, companies and businessmen who had continued to rely on “government patronage’’ may now have to look harder and further afield for jobs.  

In this regard, the Malaysian corporate sector looks forward to an era where open tenders and transparency in bidding, among other things, are implemented. 

The next few years will indeed be exciting for corporations looking for a level playing field. That is provided the new leaders deliver on their promises of integrity and fairness and do not start their own spiral of cronyism and corruption! 

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