PUTRAJAYA: The Government is beefing up measures to make Malaysia more attractive and competitive for investors, including giving faster public sector service and standardising the issuance of licenses.
For a start, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said, automatic consent for approved manufacturing projects and measures to speed up approvals, especially for land matters, would be carried out immediately.
We are aware that the Federal Government is not in the position to handle everything because there are certain powers vested on state authorities, especially in land matters.
That is why we have decided to have a special meeting with the states to stress to them the importance of getting things done, he told reporters after chairing the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Competitiveness at the Home Ministry here yesterday.
Abdullah said that in the issuance of licenses to companies by technical departments or state authorities, there had been complaints that the they took a lot of time for these to be granted.
We are doing all this in the spirit of Malaysia Inc. Both the public and the private sector must understand that what is going to be done will benefit both.
The committee will therefore review the current status of the public sector delivery system and co-ordinate programmes for agencies on this purpose, he said.
Abdullah said the committee would therefore decide on appropriate changes to present policies and procedures to improve the public sector delivery system.
We will decide on the necessary action plans to resolve outstanding issues and problems, and continue to monitor the progress of these policies, he added.
The two-hour meeting was also attended by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn and Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam.
Malaysias growth competitive index rose three notches to 27th position last year as reported in the Global Competitiveness Report 2002-2003 compiled by the World Economic Forum.
Mampu has been instructed on all the procedures involved and given the responsibility to explain to the various representatives to understand why they have to work efficiently and work very fast, Abdullah said, adding that the Government recognised that the enforcement of policies remained a big problem.
Abdullah said the committee also touched on the issue of security, especially concerns by certain companies raised on a number of cases involving highway hijacking and smuggling of products.
The police and the Home Ministry have been entrusted to look into the issue. We have identified this as one of the problems. We must ensure these cases wont happen again, he said.
Other proposals considered by the committee were: allowing skilled foreign workers and expatriates a longer term of stay in Malaysia, lengthening the pioneer status and granting certain tax exemption to foreign investors, and better incentives for research and development activities.
Abdullah said the committee agreed that applications by companies for expatriate posts be referred to the International Trade and Industry Ministry while the Home Ministry would study the possibility of granting longer period of stay for skilled foreign workers.
He said as at Dec 31 last year, nine foreign companies had operations headquarters in Malaysia. There were also 109 international document centres, nine regional offices for companies in the non-financial sector and 432 representative offices.
We want companies to set up or relocate their offices here. People must want to come and work in Malaysia.