PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has welcomed the political reforms listed under the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan but expressed its reservations about the government’s fiscal policies.
“The mid-term review contains a number of welcome political reforms, to improve governance, increase transparency and strengthen key areas such as public procurement.
“It identifies many of the right challenges including improving human capital and addressing income disparities, and the government is pursuing constructive reforms on these issues,” Ideas’ research and development director Laurence Todd said in a statement yesterday.
However, in other areas, including on the fiscal side, there were indications that the government was moving in potentially the wrong direction, he added.
Responding to the government’s plans to impose new digital taxes on online transactions as well as to raise indirect taxes and non-tax revenue, Todd said the government needed to clarify the form of this new digital tax.
“Overall, it’s disappointing that the government seems to be focusing more on tax and increasing costs to business, rather than reducing operational spending which has been persistently high in Malaysia,” he noted.
Todd added that further reforms to strengthen the oversight and performance of government-linked corporations (GLCs) were welcome, but he found it disappointing that the government did not seem to be proposing more radical reforms, including to significantly reduce its holding of assets and equities, which he said could raise revenue and stimulate private-sector growth.
Facebook users have also weighed in on the 11MP.
Angeline Tsai was confident of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s “good and sincere” intentions for the nation. “The rakyat should give him and his team the support they need to put Malaysia back on track,” she said.
Steven Lai said the 11MP was merely a “strategic planning book”.
“There will be a lot of challenges ahead to achieve the desired results due to Malaysia no longer being a rich country. Private-sector investment perhaps can become the main driving force,” he said.
Vincent Aw called on the government to cut whatever budget necessary but to spare schools, roads and hospitals.
Sokmimdah Singh commended Dr Mahathir’s plan to cap the tenure of the prime minister, mentri besar and chief minister at only two terms.
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