Brief Ideas 2019-08-27T11:23:49+00:00


Brief IDEAS No 15 – Responsible Privatisation: A New Malaysian Model of the role of government in the economy
Author: Faiz Abdul Halim and Aira Azhari
Date: March 2019

In response to calls for a more effective plan to address corruption, the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) was launched on January 29th, 2019 by the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) under the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD). The goal of the NACP is to create a corruption-free society governed by the principles of integrity, accountability and transparency. The NACP serves as the primary anti-corruption policy framework for different government agencies and ministries so that they may develop their own Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP).

This brief paper will give an overview of the current procurement regime. Next, the paper will briefly look into cases of corruption, negligence, and non-compliance in procurement. This paper will provide full list of Strategy 3’s 16 initiatives. Due to limitations within this paper, we will attempt to evaluate a few select issues and initiatives within the strategy 3, alongside relevant initiatives from other Strategies. With occasional reference to previous literature on public procurement in Malaysia, this paper will provide a general evaluation of those specific initiatives. This paper then provides a few recommendations to improve these initiatives.

Brief IDEAS No 15 – Responsible Privatisation: A New Malaysian Model of the role of government in the economy
Author: Dr Geoffrey Williams
Date: January 2019

This paper takes a fresh look at the issue of privatisation in Malaysia and examines whether the concerns raised by earlier privatisation programmes can be addressed by a new concept of ‘Responsible Privatisation.’

The prospect of a new wave of privatisation in Malaysia has been raised in the first budget speech of the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and in recent announcements that preceded it. The focus is to reduce the role of the Government in the economy and dispose of particular assets as a potential means of raising money to cut Malaysia’s national debt. For many this raises the spectre of past experiences of privatisation which are characterised as being plagued by cronyism, expropriation of profits at the expense of the Rakyat and a loss of social and strategic focus in Malaysia’s development.

Brief IDEAS No 14 – CPTPP: The Case for Ratification
Author: Laurence Todd, Manucheher Shafee
Date: January 2019

The CPTPP is the successor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was the original free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the 11 members of the CPTPP. The TPP was an ambitious FTA that had been negotiated for almost a decade under US leadership during the time of the Obama administration. Not only was the agreement broad, covering two-fifths of the world economy, it was also comprised of 30 chapters that covered areas from tariff reductions to labour standards and intellectual property rights. The concluded TPP Agreement was signed in New Zealand in February 2016 by all 12 countries.

Brief IDEAS No 13 –Potential Deadweight Loss of Departure Levy
Author: Adli Amirullah, Irene van Eldik
Date: December 2018

The government announced, during the Budget 2019 presentation, the introduction of a new Departure Tax to be levied on all international outbound flights from June 1, 2019. This new departure levy will threaten the position of Malaysia both within ASEAN as well as the wider international aviation and tourism market by raising air ticket prices and potentially creating a deadweight loss for society.

Brief IDEAS No 12 – The Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes in ASEAN Introduction
Author: Amelia Lim
Date: September 2018

Electronic cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes or vapes, are at the centre of a polarised debate, generating various opinions on how to best regulate them. Since its introduction to the market in 2004, e-cigarettes have seen an exponential boom in popularity, but the phenomenon of vaping is still very much unchartered territory that has yet to be fully understood.

Brief IDEAS No 11 –Tax in the Digital Age
Author: Laurence Todd, Connor Vance
Date: September 2018

Advances in technology have led to radical changes in existing business models and the creation of radically new ones. There has been a growing sentiment within some governments that the reach and accessibility of new digital channels poses a challenge to the long-standing principles of taxation. As the new Pakatan Harapan government develops its first budget, they too may consider targeting the revenue of digital companies. With this in mind, this Brief Ideas considers the main issues, domestically and globally, in the debate over digital tax.

Brief IDEAS No 10 – National Policy on Rare Diseases Living with Dignity: In Search of Solutions for Rare Diseases
Author: Thong Meow Keong, Azlina Ahmad-Annuar
Date: August 2018

This paper presents a background on the definition of rare diseases, the challenges facing patients, and what needs to be done moving forward. The authors identify four key obstacles facing patients suffering from rare diseases, such as lack of recognition and inclusiveness, lack of awareness and comprehensive healthcare provisions, lack of access to medications and a lack of protection of the rights and dignity of these patients. The authors then recommend solutions needed to tackle these challenges, which range from enacting new legislation, increasing awareness, better funding and research and development.

Brief IDEAS No 8 – Ownership and Control of Airlines in Southeast Asia: Prospects for an ASEAN Community Carrier
Author:  Adli Amirullah, Ali Salman
Date: June 2018

The paper builds on lessons learned from both the rocky implementation of the GST and the imperfect SST that came before it. The paper argues that the transparency of the GST regime should be preserved, so that the consumer is aware of exactly how much tax they are paying. From a business perspective, the paper argues that the new tax should only apply to businesses with a taxable return of more than RM500,000 and exported goods and services should be exempted.

Brief IDEAS No 8 – Ownership and Control of Airlines in Southeast Asia: Prospects for an ASEAN Community Carrier
Author:  Alan Khee-Jin Tan

Date: December 2017

This policy paper discusses the prospects for an ASEAN Community Carrier and its benefits for the region. Given that air transportation and airlines play a crucial part in economic growth, it is critical for the foreign investment regime for airlines to be relaxed further. The paper recommends that ASEAN investors should have the opportunity to invest in other ASEAN member states’ airlines to establish so-called Community Carriers.

Chinese Investments in Malaysia: Question on the Future of Liberal Democracy and Economic Freedom By
Author: Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Date: September 2017

Eyebrows were raised when a Hong Kong-based newspaper recently claimed that Mainland Chinese are migrating to Malaysia “by the thousands”.2 The
report stated that in 2016 alone, more than 1,000 Mainland Chinese had utilised the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to migrate
there. Between 2002 to 2016, a total of 31,732 applications for MM2H were approved, and 7,967 of these were from the Peoples’ Republic of China
(PRC). This means that, since it was started, a dragon’s share – 25 percent – of the migrants have been from the PRC.

Advancing the ASEAN Single Aviation Market
Author: Adli Amirullah

Date: July 2017

This Brief IDEAS urges Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States to embrace an Open Skies Policy to facilitate the movement of passengers and cargo across the region and materialise the vision of an ASEANSingle Aviation Market (ASAM).

Governing State-Owned Enterprises: Lessons learned from 1MDB
Author: Rama Ramanathan

Date: August 2016

This paper briefly lists seven key reasons why the PAC investigated 1MDB, notes the Government’s positive response to the 1MDB report and concludes with five recommendations for Parliament and regulatory agencies.

It does not examine the arguments for and against the existence of SOEs.

The Potential of Independent Religious Schools: A Case Study of Al-Amin
Author: Altaf Deviyati
Date: June 2016

The author begins with an overview of different private schools in Malaysia and highlights different types of Islamic schools specifically. Author Altaf Deviyati, analyses the Sekolah Rendah Islamic (SRI)/Sekolah Menengah Islamic (SMI) Al-Amin Gombak, an Islamic private school under MUSLEH, the education arm of Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (IKRAM).

Are Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) bad for health?
Author: Sreekanth Venkatamaran

Date: May 2016

This policy brief is a simplified version of the Geneva Network’s working paper titled “Are Free Trade Agreements bad for health? Quantifying the impact of FTAs on health outcomes”. The paper was originally published in August 2015 and can be found online at

Lesser Government in Business: An Unfulfilled Promise?
Authors: Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Date: April 2016

This policy paper begins with the promise made by the government to reduce its role in business as stated in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). It presents a general argument of why the government should not be involved in business. The progress made by the government to reduce its role in business is then examined through data showing its divestments in several listed companies.

How can Malaysia’s Asset Declaration System be improved to help combat corruption?
Author: Shaza Onn

Date: 4 November 2016

Despite the steps taken by Tun Abdullah Badawi when he was Prime Minister, and the recent suggestions by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the matter of  asset declaration continues to be an issue.  While Malaysia has an existing asset declaration system, it is not comprehensive.