Friendly economic policies needed to steer recovery

Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING: There is a need to focus on friendly economic policies as the nation recovers from the economic doldrums due to Covid-19.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan said she was confident that federal Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz knew what should be done to recover the economy.

“With over two decades of solid finance and investment background, I am certain the Finance minister understands and knows well of what should be done to better reform our economy to benefit all.

“As the country moves forward, we should focus on friendly economic policies that can help the economy to recover while increasing the median household income,” she said in a Facebook post.

Kho was commenting on the imposition of a 51 percent Bumiputera ownership requirement for freight forwarding companies in December next year.

“The county’s economy is as strong as the purchasing power of the majority, not a selected few. Will 51 percent Bumiputera equity help the country’s economy? Is the New Economic Policy (NEP) introduced in 1971 still relevant in this day and age?

“Such policy only enriches the selected few wealthy Bumiputeras who can afford to buy company share, but doesn’t take care of the majority Bumiputeras and the B40. A tax incentive to hire more Bumiputeras is maybe a better approach,” she said.

Kho said since 2020, logistics companies were suffering from an extraordinarily challenging time of the global supply chain crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“They are facing container shortages, 10 times ocean freight price increase, air freight crisis due to reduced global flights, and shortage of front-line operation staffs as the pandemic worsens globally.

“And now, they are facing a deadline of December 2022 to ensure their companies have 51 percent Bumiputera ownership.

“No entrepreneur in the world, Bumiputera or otherwise, wants to build a business just to sell 51% ownership and becomes a minority shareholder. Especially if the company is a family-owned business that was built over a few generations,” she said.

Kho added that while its enforcement was postponed by Tengku Zafrul until Dec 2022, it would not resolve the issue.

“I urge the Finance minister to consider both the impact of Malaysia international trade and entrepreneurial spirit should such requirement be imposed by then,” she said.