Malaysia can help Asia lead the recovery of the world economy if it has a fully liberalised economy like China

Media Statement by Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser in Seremban on 15th November 2009


It is becoming evident that while the economies in the West are trying very hard to revive their economies, and while America is still bogged down by failures of its banks – both big and small – China and India are having record GDP growths, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam.

This has prompted many economists to propose the trend that it is Asia that will show the way for recovery of not just the Asian economy but also the WORLD economy.

This conclusion was further emphasised only two days ago, at the GLOBAL LEADERS SERIES talk organised by the American Chambers of Commerce in Singapore, it was postulated that Asia will lead the recovery of the world, from recession.

This is happening because China is now the second richest nation in the world, with its economy galloping at a rate of 9% GDP growth, supported by positive GDP growth rates in Indonesia, and Vietnem.


Unfortunately, the economy in Malaysia has not been as encouraging as countries in ASEAN like Indonesia and Vietnam which has positive growth rates of 6%. Malaysia’s economy slowed down in 2008 and is slated to slow down to minus 6% in 2009.

PM Najib has predicted that the recession has bottomed and the economy is projected to have 6% growth in 2010. Not many people share his optimism. The income from manufacture exports would still have a problem as its major markets in Japan, America and Europe have yet to recover.

The country is feverishing looking for new markets for its export, as substitutes for the slow takes from Europe and America.

PM Najib has courted China by establishing stronger ties and increasing bilateral trade relations. He has given China big contracts like building a double rail track, between Gemas and Johore Bahru, a dam in Penang and three other projects, in the hope of reciprocal contracts in China.

But these are not enough. What is required are solid FDIs from China and foreign countries.

Foreign investments bring in money and technology. The figures are not encouraging. Statistics show that FDIs into Malaysia have decreased in the first half of 2009 compared with FDIs in the first half of 2008.

This means that the investment incentives offered by the government are not attractive enough. Najib’s reforms of the NEP did not impress the investors despite the cut of the quota from 30% to 12½%. it would appear that the NEP policy is still very much in force. The NEP culture and structure are still there. There is no liberalisation.

If there is no real liberalisation, if there are still distortions in the economic system like quotas, APs and any regulation or rules that hinder free trade, the economy will continue to stagnate.

40 years of NEP has slowed the economy considerably and Malaysia is far, far behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. If there is no true liberalisation there will never be a 1Malaysia.

We, in the PR strongly recommend Prime Minister Najib to follow the course taken by China to fully liberalise the economy. China changed a communist economy to a socialist market economy,and is now the second richest country in the world.

If Malaysia does not liberalise, it will be overtaken by the other ASEAN countries who are more liberal and democratic. Malaysia may not join the other countries who helped Asia lead the recovery of the world economy.


Dr Chen Man Hin
DAP life adviser

  1. #1 by Taxidriver on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 1:06 pm

    BN government led by Mahathir’s UMNO Baru cannot be depended on to help in the recovery of world recession. Being an ‘ELECTION’ government, all policies are formulated with the sole aim of fishing for Malay votes. Winning elections and staying in power is top priority. All other things can wait…..

    Jadi mana boleh harap???

  2. #2 by Taxidriver on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 1:28 pm

    This man, like his mentor, is only good at talking kok to hookwink the kampong Malays and charming Mongolian women. Wawasan 2020 is an impossible dream under this corrupt regime.

  3. #3 by -ec- on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 1:30 pm

    i do not agree with dr chen that china is a fully liberalize economy. in terms of economic liberalization, i think the good examples are hong kong, singapore and some eu countries.

    if investors want cheap labor and strong domestic demand, they will go to china and india. if technology is the concern, perhaps india is their choice. if investors want to leverage on liberalize economy to expand their business, singapore and hong kong or maybe shanghai would be their choices. if investors want knowledge workers and innovative workforce, they would stay at home in the us or eu.

    so, what can malaysia offer?

    to further liberalize?? TOO LATE! someones have done it (faster and better) already? to grow population to fuel internal demands? TOO LITTLE! to extract more oil? FINISHING SOON!

    in the past and present, our economy relies on the us and eu, in the coming future, our economy will also relies on china and india etc. we would never be the main economy but a by-product of them.


    we do not have the leaders with guts and foreseeability. people like deng xiao ping and lee kuan yew. nr’s vision is just word but no action. we want leaders with guts and actions!

  4. #4 by -ec- on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 1:33 pm

    nep has to be the first to go! i dare you, nr!

  5. #5 by -ec- on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 1:49 pm

    we have to think out of incoming fdi, which putting excessive reliance on others. these fdi will only go to places that their shareholders will make profits.

    our economy must make a structural change, moving fast and moving in the right direction!

  6. #6 by OrangRojak on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 3:43 pm

    I’m with -ec- on this one. ‘Liberalised’ and ‘China’ don’t really go hand in hand at all. It’s easy to be confused by China’s success. It has to be remembered that China is the last Imperialist: its Empire is enormous and still growing. It would be incompetent to look at its total worth compared to a handful of cities that have been heard of outside its borders. Its per capita GDP ranks around the 100th mark, internationally. It also has terrible inequality of wealth distribution, similar to Malaysia.

    I think Pakatan Rakyat should concentrate on a Malaysian economic solution, rather than trying to ape China – a vast ex-communist empire with problems of its own, or Singapore, – which is large enough and well-placed enough to do fantastically well in international commerce, yet small enough to run like a single business entity.

    I thought the DAP budget (apart from the stuff I’ve whined about elsewhere) was a really good start. I think a lot of Malaysians are probably quite dissatisfied with their current prospects and opportunities. It might be nice to fill in a few details on what new opportunities might exist under a PR government (or at least what DAP would push for). The one that springs obviously to my mind is Internet Service Provision. If a local business started up near my place offering superior bandwidth via Indonesia (accessing the Internet through an Indonesian proxy is far faster if you’re working on EU hosts), I would pay for them to dig a tunnel to the beach!

    The UK had a massive turnaround at the start of the Internet boom, when every man and his dog bought a pan and painted it with “Network designer / installer”. I can’t help thinking that opportunity still exists in Malaysia. How many companies cannot compete for information-based services just because the monopoly provider doesn’t commit to a decent service level?

    And what about the print media / arts scene? I can’t help thinking that it must be straining at the leash! Doing away with much of the current licensing scheme would take much of the risk away from print / arts industries.

    I think there’s a lot of potential in Malaysia that’s not so much un-tapped as suppressed. I’m sure a few bright DAP members sitting at the kopitiam with a pencil and a napkin could jot down half a dozen oppressive laws whose disposal could bring about an enormous upturn in local industry.

    Can I be DAP’s Life Adviser now? I have a PhD, so you can call me Dr Rojak if you think it will make me more credible.

  7. #7 by taiking on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 4:15 pm

    Yes sir. Agree with you absolutely Dr Rojak (better not call you rojak dr which really is quite something else) and of course you too, -ec-. China is a different kettle altogether. China has its perculiar advantages and is able to enjoy those advantages for sometime to come.

    What have we here in malaysia? Our cheap labour cost is only an imported advantage. And we do not have brain-power in sufficient numbers to take on cutting edge technologies.

  8. #8 by lkt-56 on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 4:35 pm

    Forget about unrealistic thoughts like: helping Asis to lead the world recovery… Let us think of:

    How to generate wealth without being too reliant on exports to countries that are now in trouble themselves?

    How about Malaysian food. This seems good as we have often heard of how tourists like our many variety of food. Good clean hygeienic food to attract visitors.

    Good honest taxi drivers to service the tourism industry. More taxi licenses issued to the people who wants to earn a living and do not just issue license to cronies.

    Good public transport to clean up our air when people become less reliant on their own cars. Less traffic jams, clean air, clean environment, and lots of beautiful plants and not forgetting well maintained like they have in Singapore. Visitors to Singapore often remarked about the entire country being like a big garden in Singapore. This in not to unrealistic to achieve.

    Nurturing homegrown talent. I do not know whether this is true but I heard that the “pen drive” was invented by a young lad who lives in Klang. But this recognition seems to be lacking in Malaysia. Jimmy Choo found fame in London and not in Malaysia. Chef Wan too found success overseas. What happen to the value we placed on human resources?

    Thanks for the cue… Mr. Rojak.

  9. #9 by tenaciousB on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 6:07 pm

    Cannotla not now and never, cause the mockery of this government are causing a massive emigration of non malays..great minds and talents..mostly emigrating to australia..truck loads. sorryla, bad luck for BN.

  10. #10 by undertaker888 on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 6:07 pm

    //nurturing home grown talent/ lkt

    Umno is not keen on that. They are only keen on bringing down whatever aspects of the other races to the same level or below of the bumis(if there is such a people).

    Then thru this “artificial insemination’ they will hoodwink the simple Malays, “see!!we have achieved bringing up the standards of the Malays thru NEP!!”.

    In truth only umno’s cronies benefited thru corruptions and persecutions. Just compare the text books of what we’ve gone thru 20 years ago and now, you will know what I mean.

  11. #11 by tenaciousB on Monday, 16 November 2009 - 6:15 pm

    UMNO indeed upheld the malay’s rights and gave them a future, brought them out of the kampung but at what expense? Causing non malays to emigrate out of the country in order to obtain an education and fair employment.

    Malaysia would have been better off with Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr.Ismail and Lee kuan Yew.

  12. #12 by ablastine on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 - 1:18 am

    The notion of competition in Malaysia is to chase away all the best and brightest so that the not so bright has a chance of reaching the top. Its racist policies and constitution dictate that you have to belong to the privilege race in order to hold high office or control important insitution in Malaysia. Those not of this race are second or third class citizen and of little importance other than to pay taxes to sustain the privileged class. After a few decades, the country starts to wonder why Malaysia is loosing out in every field and does not seem to have the talents for anything. They forgot that two or three generations of straight As students (deprieved of scholarships) and highly talented individuals, born and bred in Malaysia have left because the country never wanted them in the first place because their skin color was not the right one. The is the sad story of Malaysia. RACISM, RACISM and RACISM. Every damn thing in the country is divided according to race. The one who should be blamed most is that Mamak who until now cannot see the folly of his ways.

  13. #13 by ablastine on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 - 1:52 am

    Ever wonder why almost all the Government Link Companies in Singapore succeed beyond expectations and almost all Government Link Companies in Malaysia go down the drain. Simple. They choose the best and brightest, irrespective of race, creed and even nationality. Strictly meritocratic. Needless to say a great number of these talents were once top scholars in Malaysia. They don’t mind using foreigners to head their national banks and even their soverign funds. So who are the chaps running Malaysian GLC? Most likely UMNO cronies whose only talent is siphoning companies fund for own use and relying heavily on NEP and special privilges to get ahead. However, in a globalised world there are no such things as special privileges. Either you do or you die. So we usually die. Singapore puts a premium on brain power. Malaysia speciality is racism. It is a long way down the slippery slope to destruction and we are not even half way there yet. We just might level up with Zimbawe in 2020 the rate we are going.

  14. #14 by k1980 on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 - 11:10 am

    Expecting Malaysia to help Asia lead the recovery of the world economy is like expecting Malaysia to send its own astronuat to space using its own rocket, i.e. IMPOSSIBLE

  15. #15 by limkamput on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 - 3:10 pm

    While agreeing with your assessment of the Malaysian economy, I certainly do not agree that China has taken the course to fully liberalise its economy. China, like most Asian nations, is mercantilist. It is time China consumes more and allows its yuan to be market determined. I believe the present US Administration is doing the right thing to insist on “balanced” growth, contrary to the misplaced aspiration of many Asian nations who continue want to export but hardly want to import. How can East Asian economies continue to ask the world’s largest debtor to consume more? It is does not make logical sense. It only results in more fait money being created by the US to finance its imports and thus further accentuates the volatility and imbalance worldwide. It is about time China pays its workers more and allows better life for their people. So also are workers in Malaysia. Right now, too much income is accrued to the entrepreneurial class at the expense of ordinary workers. Sometimes income does not have to go up to stimulate more consumption and economic activities. We just have to redistribute it. “Socialist” China today is more capitalist the “Capitalist” USA. Capitalist USA today is more socialist than Socialist China, if you get what I mean.

  16. #16 by -ec- on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 - 8:32 pm

    world bank assessment of malaysian economy, as reported by reuters just now:

    UPDATE 2-Malaysia has lost edge as low-cost producer-W.Bank
    11.18.09, 04:07 AM EST

  17. #17 by Lee HS on Thursday, 19 November 2009 - 12:40 pm

    If we can bring back and invest locally all the money that our corrupted politicians stashed in Swiss banks, Malaysia will be able to survive a better economic growth.

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