ALL eyes are on the coming 15th General Election as people are hoping that the new government will help them ride out the storm after the Covid-19 pandemic, says Tan Meng Lee, president of the Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Association.
Malaysians wish that the country will be out of political instability and move on after the election. Petty traders and hawkers look forward to a government that implements fair measures regardless of ethnicity, as well as one that won’t implement unfavourable policies for traders, he says.
Good policies for traders, such as incentives, mortgage facilities or subsidies to assist them in their business would be helpful.
Tan says apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, traders are also affected by the political “chaos” during which many day-to-day issues have been neglected. People are extremely sick and tired of the fights among political parties, which makes them feel insecure.
Tan says traders were able to earn good money in the 1980s and 1990s. However, things changed in 2000 with growing uncertainties and challenges.
The new government will need to look into how to re- ignite hope for traders, he says.
Datuk Lee Teong Chwee, executive advisor to the Malaysia Hawkers and Petty Traders Association, says in a multiracial society, a dominant political party is not suitable as it will lead to a power imbalance.
Lee says the ideal situation is to see an even distribution of power in politics so that all people are taken care of.
Regardless of which coalition is going to be the government, Lee says Malaysians of all races should enjoy equal opportunities and compete in a free market so that all Malaysians will have more opportunities.
Lee says traders would like to see more Chinese elected representatives. Whether they are in the ruling government or the Opposition, these elected representatives will be able to speak on behalf of the people and effectively resolve issues for the people.
A stable government with a set of clear policies in line with the national development plan is important for the business community, says Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan, president of the Assoc-iated Chinese Chamber of Com-merce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM).
A politically stable country will help restore the confidence of both local and foreign investors. Apart from resolving the current issues, the govern-ment should focus on resolving long-standing matters such as establishing an inclusive and multicultural society, speed up reform plans and shape a business-friendly environment.
The government needs to improve the quality of life for people at all levels – in employment, education, optimisation of healthcare, social policies and others in this post Covid-19 era, where rising prices of goods, shortage of labour and political uncertainties loom in the world.
“Those issues are pressing for people. They are concerned about how the government will implement strategies to assist people at all levels, especially the underprivileged group,’’ he says.
On the impact of the political scenario on the business environment, Low says maintaining political stability is the key to achieving sustainable development, as political uncertainty will affect investors’ confidence and hamper economic recovery. Investors and the business community hope that the government will be able to maintain the 3Cs – clarity, consistency and continuity, says Low, adding that the ACCCIM also urges the new government to beef up collaboration between public and private sectors. – Sin Chew Daily/Media in Arms