‘No honeymoon period for Anwar and team’

PETALING JAYA: The new line-up of Cabinet ministers in Malaysia’s first unity government will need to hit the ground running as they cannot afford a honeymoon period, say the business fraternity.

Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies president Callum Chen said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s premiership came at a time of various regional and global challenges.

Controlling inflation, managing finances, and growing the economy, he said, were important for the new leadership to steer the country forward after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the stock market and ringgit have strengthened, they are still way lower than what they used to be, while many people are still suffering.

“So, Anwar and his team need to first tackle inflation by increasing market capability. This can be done by encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs and teaching them how to fish and move up in the value chain.

“Youths are our future leaders; they must not remain in their comfort zones with no advancement. So, we must encourage them and assist them to move up,” he said.

Lauding Anwar’s decision to forgo his Prime Minister’s salary, Chen said the Pakatan Harapan chairman would need to consolidate his Cabinet by keeping it lean.

“Have the right person for the right job. The same system should be applied to the public sector as well so that civil servants do not take their jobs for granted and instead focus on delivery,” he said.

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) president Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan said the new government could not afford a honeymoon period.

“To ensure Malaysia’s continued economic recovery, fixing public finances must be at the top of the economic agenda for fiscal and debt sustainability,” he said, adding that the business community was ready to work with the new government to deliver prosperity, jobs and sustained economic growth.

“The world’s economy is facing a rising risk of recession in some advanced economies. Malaysia will not be spared from external headwinds amid many economic challenges and business issues.”

Calling for political stability, which was important in ensuring economic prosperity and safeguarding business and market confidence, Low said ACCCIM urged all parties to close rank.

“Make compromises and work together to maintain a stable political environment with good governance and an economic system to rebuild a better Malaysia,” he said.

In a multiracial country, Low said a unified and inclusive government was key to establishing a united Bangsa Malaysia that lives in harmony and unity.

“A progressive and moderate government will help create a conducive business environment and investment climate, which are the most important ingredients to increase economic growth and drive higher investment,” he added.

Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) president Tan Sri TC Goh said both the new government and the Opposition must strive to work in the best interests of the nation and the people, adding that a unity government was the best scenario.

“Besides appointing policymakers who are truly qualified and fit for the job, I hope the soon-to-be-formed Cabinet line-up will also be more inclusive of all races to better reflect a multiracial Malaysia,” he said.

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