The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been an active participant in various government initiatives and brainstorm session on how to improve the competitiveness of the nation and the government machinery.
It has been critical when the need calls for it and supportive when the government delivers on its promises.
It’s Vice President, Michael Chai recently spoke to Business Circle on country being ranked 12th by the World Bank in the Ease of Doing Business Study last year.
“We think the ranking achieved is a reflection of the good job done by Pemudah over the past five years and here I would like to commend immigration. They can issue you a passport in one day and their services are friendly and efficient. This is a big improvement over the past,” he notes.
The backlog of cases in the judiciary that has been steadily cleared over the past five years is another area the KLSCCCI is thankful for, says Chai who goes on to add the quick refund by the IRB is another plus point.
“The formation of SME Corp is another plus point and they are helping many small and medium enterprises (SME) to improve their competitiveness.”
Taken together, he says it is no surprise that Malaysia has done well in the World Bank study. But at the same time, he says the Chambers feels that more improvements can be achieved, as he notes that Malaysia has dropped down in some of the rankings it achieved last year.
“More work needs to be done, especially when you look at the recent passing of the Competition Law which includes SMEs but where we feel SMEs should be exempted from as they are suffering from the tougher business climate.”
Another area the Chamber takes issue with are the changes in law. Chia highlights the Strata Management Bill which specifies that building managers must be qualified valuers. He recalls that this issue had risen under another Bill but had been resolved, or so the Chamber thought, until he says “it was slipped in under the Strata Management Bill.”
Chia wonder if a Law Reform Bill can look at all the laws in a holistic manner rather than a piecemeal approach. But he says that the Chambers does acknowledge that doing business has gotten easier for members especially with the issuing of permits and licenses.
Unfortunately he notes that Malaysia has slipped in the areas of Starting a Business and Construction Permits. “We are doing quite bad here,” he acknowledges and points the finger at the many regulations and licences that cover the construction sector. “We need to simplify this area,” he notes.
He is confident meanwhile that in the area of enforcing and resolving contract disputes and resolving insolvency, the situation will keep improving due mainly to the clearing of backlog cases in the judiciary and the encouragement of arbitration to resolve issues.
He also notes that private sector investment by small companies into Malaysia has been dropping and feels it is cause for concern. “Could it be because of the security issue with people not feeling safe? Or corruption, which our members feel is still an issue.”
While the Chamber would like to see Malaysia move into the top 10 in the World Bank rankings, Chia feels this will be very difficult as other countries are running fast to get into the Top 10 too. What is more important is to sustain the momentum. “Whatever improvements we make must be sustainable as we don’t want to slip back up, ” he cautions.
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