Highlights:
  1. Malaysia Launch Anti-Corruption Plan
  2. Women make up only 19 pct of board members in public listed companies
  3. Tourism Malaysia, MAHB team up to expand tourism industry
  4. Ministry to focus on 8 key industries to drive economy
Malaysia Launch Anti-Corruption Plan Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the country’s National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP) today which seeks to deal with the country’s four main causes of corruption: administrative failure (the manipulation of systems and procedures), conflict of interest (relating to discretionary power, absolute power and political interference), weak internal control and non-compliance, and a lack of transparency. They are among the nine causes pinpointed through an analysis of more than 20,000 complaints received by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from 2013 to 2018. Given that, the NACP’s three main missions in ending corruption are to uphold the rule of law, improve the public service by practising good governance and creating a clean business environment. A total of 115 initiatives for six risk areas — political governance, public sector administration, public procurement, legal and judicial, law enforcement and corporate governance – were formulated. From these, 30 are short-term initiatives (to be carried out from January-December 2019), 31 medium-term initiatives (January 2019-December 2020) and 54 long-term initiatives (January 2019-December 2023). The group of initiatives also covers 22 priority measures like introducing new legislation governing political funding and lobbying, a proper asset declaration system for members of the administration and Parliament, and a Prime Minister’s Directive governing the demarcation of power between Ministers and Secretaries-General. Some of the other steps are managing the appointment of senior government officials as board directors and chief executive officers in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and statutory bodies, and introducing transparent guidelines on the appointment of special officers, political secretaries, private secretaries and media secretaries for ministers and deputy ministers. The NACP also promotes a separation of powers with regards to the Attorney-General and public prosecutors, and for corruption cases to be handled by judges and prosecutors who are trained and experienced in the field. Additionally, the plan wants to integrate relevant agencies for effective border management and improve the existing foreign worker’s centralised management system. It also endorses an integrity vetting requirement as a selection criterion for top management positions in statutory bodies, SOEs and CLBG, as well as a conditional approach in the utilisation of funds provided by the government to all statutory bodies, SOEs and Government Established Company Limited by Guarantee (CLBG). Women make up only 19 pct of board members in public listed companies Women in Malaysia, thus far, make up only 19 per cent of the board members of public listed companies with a market capitalisation of RM2 billion and above. Looking at this figure, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail stressed that more had to be done in the private sector in regard to women’s participation at the higher level. To ensure active engagement by the private sector with the particular group, Dr Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said the government had drafted various policy interventions. “One of the policy interventions that the new government has instituted through the 2019 National Budget is for the private sector to ensure the 30 per cent target for women on their boards can be achieved by 2020.” Dr Wan Azizah reiterated her belief that the exclusion of women from a nation’s economic landscape would be harmful, adding that gender gaps in the labour force participation were still apparent, ranging from 12 per cent in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economies to 50 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa. “Another global reality, when women work, they tend to be stuck in low-paying and low-status jobs. Globally, women earn much less than men even with the same level of education and occupation,” she said. Luckily in Malaysia, Dr Wan Azizah said, 36 per cent of the senior officers in the public sector were women. Recognising the importance of digital economy, the deputy prime minister said Malaysia had undertaken concerted efforts to spur digital transformation and embarked on various initiatives to enable greater participation of local businesses in e-commerce and facilitate access to global markets. Tourism Malaysia, MAHB team up to expand tourism industry Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) are teaming up for a second consecutive year under Joint International Tourism Development Programme (JITDP) following positive results achieved in tourism and economic sectors last year. Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Musa Yusof said the programme, introduced last year, generated return on investment (ROI) of RM1.1 billion, exceeding its original target of RM800 million. “Via JITDP, both parties will work together to increase the arrival of tourists as well the expansion of tourism industry either from outside or within the country,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Ministry to focus on 8 key industries to drive economy The Entrepreneur Development Ministry will focus on eight key industries with the biggest potential to drive the economy as these industries have the highest value-added multiplier and high backward linkages. The industries include rubber plantation, livestock, grain mills manufacturing, oil and fats manufacturing, private education and private health, said Deputy Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli. “These industries have a high spillover effect and are capable of positively affecting other related small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the supply chain,” he told reporters after launching the “SME Input-Output (SME IO) Table” in Kuala Lumpur. He said higher investments, exports and demand for these industries would likely benefit the local economy as a whole. Mohd Hatta said the focus sectors are part of the findings from SME Corporation’s study SME IO, which was conducted with researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia. The SME IO study, which can describe the flows of SMEs and large firms’ products and services in the economy, is conducted every five years involving one million companies registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia. “The study also confirmed that at present, there is a weak linkage between SMEs and large firms as SMEs are more dependent on large firms in acquiring inputs, compared with large firms which prefer to buy from larger firms or through import. “We will identify the weaknesses of each industry and will work to overcome them to ensure SMEs achieve the target of 41 per cent contribution to gross domestic product by 2020,” he said.