Waiting till September for confidence vote bad for business, say economists

PETALING JAYA: The economy will suffer from any delay in a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, according to two economists.

Center for Market Education CEO Carmelo Ferlito and Mohamed Aslam Haneef of International Islamic University Malaysia told FMT they believed businesses were disappointed that the vote would be delayed to next month, as announced by Muhyiddin yesterday.

Without a clear strategy things for the business people and for the man on the street can only get worse, says an economist.

Ferlito said market observers were expecting a sign of clarity and direction during the prime minister’s address to the nation but were let down.

He noted that consumer and business confidence indexes were both in sharp decline and said an uncertain business environment was a bane to investors.

Carmelo Ferlito.

“Investors do not know what to expect in the future,” he said. “This adds to the fact that consumers are not allowed to consume, or they can’t because of the deteriorated purchasing power.

“Though many industries can operate, the products they produce need to find the market. Otherwise, stocks will just pile up in the warehouses or be sold abroad.

“The marketplace is now locked down and we have no idea how much longer this will be.”

Ferlito said it would be better if the question of whether the current government was still intact was sorted out this month as businesses needed to clearly see the government’s strategies for exiting the pandemic and reviving the economy.

“Without a clear strategy to address these, things for the business people and for the man on the street can only get worse.”

Mohamed Aslam Haneef.

Aslam said this month could see an increase in politicking and this would add to the uncertainties that businesses and investors disliked.

He said businesses were less concerned with who was in power than with the kind of policies whoever was in power would adopt to lead the country out of the health and economic crises.

“It’s about what the government is doing, how effective its policies are and whether it is willing to make bold, substantive reforms to the current system,” he said.

He said the current government had failed to improve the Covid-19 and economic situations even under a state of emergency.

“There must be no more tweaking or fiddling with the old model,” he said. “Whoever is in Putrajaya must be willing to embrace lessons from a social market economy, a model that stresses markets with social balancing.”

Yesterday, Muhyiddin announced that he was not quitting as prime minister despite pressure by Umno and opposition parties for him to do so. He claimed that he still had the majority support of MPs.

He said his government would table a motion of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat in September to test his majority, drawing brickbats from opposition MPs, who challenged him to do so this month instead.

By : Nicholas Chung – FMT

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