Policy Ideas 2019-02-28T13:46:44+00:00


Policy IDEAS No 58 – Improving Access to Orphan Drugs in Malaysia
Author: Dr. Asrul Akmal Shafie

Date: February 2019

A rare disease is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population and are frequently debilitating to patients. Timely access to the right treatment is crucial for effective disease management and delayed access contributes to poorer treatment outcomes and more severe disease complications. This policy paper  “Improving access to orphan drugs in Malaysia” explores the challenges associated with accessing orphan drugs in Malaysia and proposes ways in which we can improve patient access to these drugs.

We explore the current situation, which includes difficulty in receiving diagnosis and obtaining treatment in time due to the lack of expertise along with limited treatment options. Orphan drugs are harder to obtain than other conventional drugs due to lack of economic incentive for manufacturers to develop drugs which can be attributed to the small market. This leads to orphan drugs being marketed at very high prices due to an absence of economies of scale in its sale. Low prevalence of the disease within healthcare settings and population in general results in a lack of understanding among physicians. The low prevalence makes it difficult to improve knowledge on the safety and efficacy of treatments through proper studies.

The paper explores different solutions to address these problems through two broader themes: controlling the high price of drugs and increasing the budget for orphan drugs. The solutions proposed under these themes are, controlling high prices of drugs and increasing the budget for orphan drugs.

Policy Paper No.57: E-hailing regulations: striking the right balance
Author: Laurence Todd, Adli Amirullah and Chiang Hui Xing

Date:  November 2018

E-hailing has revolutionised the private transport market in recent years. Consumers are able to summon a ride whenever and wherever they want and settle the bill electronically all through an app.This has made travelling around easier for the consumer and provided a new source of employment for e-hailing drivers.

This Policy Ideas considers the following issues: i) the economic impact of e-hailing in Malaysia, for consumers, drivers and the traditional taxi industry; ii) the impact of the government’s new regulations on the e-hailing market; and iii) how the government should develop the regulatory framework going forward in light of these considerations.

Policy Paper No.56 : Policy Paper No.56: Economic Benefits of ASEAN Single Aviation Market
Author: Adli Amirullah

Date:  November 2018

Air transport plays a crucial role in the overall economic prosperity of ASEAN. Aviation connects businesses, tourists, friends and family. It is a key enabler of trade and investment that supports millions of jobs and generates billions in economic growth. Air transport in ASEAN is underpinned by the ASEAN Single Aviation Market which is designed to drive integration and liberalisation of ASEAN’s aviation markets.

In this Policy Ideas, we explore the economic benefits of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market, considering both what has been achieved so far and what further potential there is. We also consider the steps needed to progress implementation of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market.

Policy Paper No.55 : Powering the future: Malaysia’s energy policy challenges
Author:Renato Lima de Oliveira

Date:  November 2018

The energy industry is changing fast and in multiple directions, with important consequences for energy-rich countries. Malaysia is also experiencing unprecedented political changes with the election of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition on May 9 of 2018, the first alternation of power since the country’s independence. Some of the key promises made by the PH’s manifesto are related to the energy sector, including a fast growth of renewable generation and the promotion of green technologies. This paper discusses the global energy scenario, Malaysia’s energy policy challenges, and explains why it is important to put energy innovation at the forefront of the national development strategy. 

Policy Paper No.54 : Impacts of Investment from China in Malaysia on the Local Economyy
Author: Ali Salman, Adli Amirullah, Amelia Lim

Date:  October 2018

This Policy Ideas builds on our previous report, “Illicit Trade in Malaysia: Causes and Consequences” (IDEAS, 2017). In that report we outlined the scale of illicit trade in Malaysia, the driving factors behind it and recommendations to address it. In this report, we consider those recommendations in more detail by assessing case studies from other countries where action was taken to stem the flow of illicit trade. We have complemented the assessment of these case studies with review of the relevant literature and interviews with experts in the field, including from industry and government. Using this analysis, we propose more detailed recommendations for tackling the problem of illicit trade in Malaysia.

Policy Paper No.54 : Impacts of Investment from China in Malaysia on the Local Economyy
Author: Laurence Todd, Meghan Slattery

Date:  October 2018

In this paper, IDEAS assess the impact of Chinese investment on the Malaysian economy, by focussing on the opportunities created by these projects for local firms, and local SMEs in particular, placing our specific focus on major infrastructure projects involving Chinese State-Linked companies. Our research is based on a review of the literature on the impact of Chinese FDI in other economies, analysis of publicly available data and other information, including media reports, and interviews with industry and researchers.

Policy Paper No.52 : Strengthening the ASEAN Single Aviation Market: Implementing the AEC Blueprint 2025 for Air Transport
Author: Dr Jae Woon Lee

Date:  September 2018

Aviation has been an integral component in the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Since ASEAN designated air transport as one of the twelve priority sectors for economic integration in November 2004, significant integration and liberalization have taken place in the past 15 years. The number of passengers carried in ASEAN countries has tripled, from 98 million in 2004 to 329 million in 2016. (The World Bank, 2018). In particular, intra-ASEAN traffic has increased significantly. With the substantial growth, some ASEAN city pairs are now ranked as the busiest international routes worldwide.

This Policy Ideas considers the next steps in developing a Single Aviation Market in ASEAN (ASAM), and proposes recommendations for achieving this vision.

Policy Paper No.51 : Affordable Housing and Cyclical Fluctuations: The Malaysian Property Market
Author: Carmelo Ferlito

Date:  July 2018

This paper suggests that the government needs to be ready for the bubble to burst and the risk that this leads to an economic crisis. The paper recommends the government respond with market-oriented solutions and pay special attention to the household financial exposure. Second, the government needs to downplay its role in the property market by reducing the number of government agencies and encourage the private sector to get involved in the affordable housing market. Third, the government must enhance Malaysian financial literacy, with an orientation toward the value of saving and the possibilities offered by the rental market. Finally, the government may open and easing up the regulation in the property market to foreigners who are in possession of a regular working visa and paying taxes to help the industry in a crucial moment of difficulty.

Policy Paper No.50 : Create or Nurture? Lessons from Cyberjaya: Malaysia’s Promised Silicon Valley
Author: Ali Salman

Date:  July 2018

The main motivation is to study the role of government in the design and success of an industrial policy by analyzing industrial clusters. The overarching question is whether the government should create a cluster from scratch or nurture an existing one? The setting is an industrial
and innovation cluster called Cyberjaya in Malaysia, which is one of the 25 most competitive economies in the world as ranked by the World Economic Forum and is ranked amongst the top 25 countries in terms of ease of doing business by the World Bank. Historically, Malaysia is considered a successful example of an active and deliberate industrial policy, which has helped in making this country one of the top manufacturing hubs for electric and electronic goods, including semi-conductors.

Policy Paper No. 49: Intellectual Property Rights in ASEAN: Developments and Challenges
Author: Marolita Setiati Anwar, Adi Darmawan

Date:  July 2018

This paper uses IPRI 2017 indicators to measure the Intellectual Property Rights overall level of performance in five ASEAN countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, which account for the highest combined GDP in the ASEAN community.

Policy Ideas No. 48: Payment Card Reform Framework (PCRF): A Policy Evaluation Study
Author: Dr. Teo Wing Leong

Date:  May 2018

This paper reviews some of the assumptions underlying the Payment Card Reform Framework (PCRF) programme, assesses its progress to date and suggests steps that might be taken to improve the chances of achieving the Bank’s objectives.

Policy Paper 45: Government-Linked Corporations and its Impacts on the Malaysian Economy
Author: Jayant Menon

Date:  18 December 2017

The role that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or, more generally, government-linked companies (GLCs) play in the Malaysia economy is widespread and pervasive. In terms of countries that have the highest SOE presence among their largest firms, Malaysia ranks fifth highest in the world. The Economic Transformation Program (ETP) has called for a reduced role of government in business, and a program of divestment was concluded in 2015.

Policy Paper 47: Anti-profiteering Regulations: Effects on Consumer Prices & Business Margins
Author: Hafiz Noor Shams

Date:  5 December 2017

In light of the ever growing concern over the rise in cost of living due to the rise in prices, one of government’s effort to manage consumer prices in Malaysia is assessed in this new paper by IDEAS. IDEAS’ new policy paper on “Anti-profiteering Regulations: Effects on Consumer Prices & Business Margins” explores the effectiveness of the Price Control Act as well as the potential effects of the anti-profiteering regulations. The research is based on meetings with government officials as well as on statistics from the Companies Commission, Department of Statistics and the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism.

Policy paper No. 46: Water Provision in Malaysia Privatise or nationalise?
Edited by: Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Date:  16 November 2017

The briefing paper contains case studies of how citizens can benefit from reforms that are driven by the desire to serve the people, rather than blind ideology. The paper explains that debates around the provision of water services have frequently been shaped by those who are anti-privatisation for ideological reasons rather than because of facts and data. But real improvements can be achieved only if analysts and policymakers avoid falling into the ideological debate and focus instead on pragmatically choosing the best way to serve consumers, including by getting the private sector involved.

Policy paper No. 44: Illicit Trade in Malaysia: Causes & Consequences
Author: Adli Amirullah, Amirah Fazira and Ali Salman

Date: 31 October 2017

Trade integration offers opportunities for economic growth. However, high domestic taxes, lax border enforcement, and supply constraints can lead to an increase in illicit trade flows thus, reducing benefits of trade openness. As Malaysia becomes more integrated as a result of existing and prospective free trade agreements, it also faces the risks of an increase in illicit trade flows barring significant domestic reforms.

Policy paper No. 43: Reigning in the IGP’s Power: Decentralisation as an option
Author: Nicholas Chan

Date: 18 October 2017

This paper examines decentralisation as a potential policy option for the Malaysian Inspector General of Police’s (IGP) office given the issues of accountability and overcentralisation. It is a continuation of a previous IDEAS policy paper (Strengthening the Royal Malaysia Police by Enhancing Accountability) that discusses the failure of oversight bodies in enhancing the accountability of the IGP’s office due to the lack of greater structural reforms.

Policy paper No. 42: Will Our Public Universities Have Financial Autonomy?
Author: Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Date: 2 August 2017

In order to meet today’s global challenges, and improve the international standing of Malaysian universities, it is important for them to improve research and academic excellence. But in order to get there, financial viability is needed. This paper will explore the concept of financial autonomy and current policies on public university funding by the Malaysian Government. Finally, it will discuss necessary the steps to assist Malaysian universities in becoming more financially autonomous.

Policy Paper No. 41: History and Epistemology of Universities
Author: Munif Zarirruddin Fikri Nordin

Date: 12 July 2017

A university has its various roles. It is an indicator of civilization; it serves to develop a country, educate its students, and produce leaders for the needs of the nation. In a successful national higher education system these roles are closely associated with academic freedom and university autonomy.

Policy Paper No. 40: Policy Paper No. 40: The History of University Autonomy in Malaysia
Author: Chang-Da Wan

Date: 30 June 2017

During his New Year’s speech in 2012, then Minister of Higher Education, Mohamed Khaled Nordin announced that Malaysia’s five public universities, the oldest in the country, would be given an autonomous status.

But are Malaysian universities truly autonomous? And if so, how did they lack independence from the government in the past? Has there ever been a point in our history where higher education institutions were fully autonomous?

Policy Paper No. 39: Autonomy and Accountability in Higher Education: Lessons from Ghana and Mexico
Author: Dr. Sean Matthews

Date: 7 June 2017

What can Malaysia learn from other countries about autonomy and accountability in Higher Education? There is much that is distinctive about every national context, perhaps especially the Malaysian one, but in the era of globalization tertiary sectors around the world face many similar challenges.

Policy Paper No. 38 Malaysia’s Tax System Friend or Foe to Prosperity?
Author: Dan Mitchell

Date: 10 May 2017

Malaysia has the capacity to grow more rapidly and become a high-income nation. But is its tax system holding it back?

Author: Roy Lee

Date: 28 February 2017

In his paper, “Upgrading Democracy: ‘Soft Laws’ and the Ombudsman”, Guernsey legislative counsel member and solicitor Roy Lee, makes an argument for the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman in order to protect democratic governance in Malaysia.  Although soft law institutions like the Ombudsman have no power to make legally binding decisions, they are essential in ensuring that public officials remain accountable, transparent and fair in their actions and decisions.

A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010
Author: Christopher Leong

Date: 22 February 2017

Despite the introduction of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 (the Act), whistleblowing is still a rare occurrence in Malaysia. In fact, the annual report from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in 2012 indicates that out of a total of 8,953 complaints received by the Commission only 28 were from whistleblowers. However, data from the US suggests that as a method of detection whistleblowing is the single most effective means of uncovering graft. Considering the importance of whistleblowers in discovering cases of fraud the low number of whistleblowers as observed through the MACC statistics suggest that whistleblowers in Malaysia remain hesitant.

A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010
Author: Philip Stevens

Date: 25 December 2016

Since the middle of the twentieth century, the world has made great progress fighting diseases transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks and sandflies, particularly malaria. However, this progress is threatened by a surge in other vector-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika and cikungunya.

Malaysia is particularly badly hit by these three diseases, despite having nearly eliminated malaria. Given that until recently there have been no effective treatments or vaccines for these three diseases, Malaysia has focused its efforts on vector control in order to prevent disease spread and transmission.

Separating the Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor: Enhancing Rule of Law in Malaysia
Authors: Aira Nur Ariana Azhari and Lim Wei Jiet

Date: 12 December 2016

The removal of the former Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail at the height of investigations on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its accumulated debt of RM42 billion raises concerns over the fragility of the Attorney General’s position and his ability to prosecute cases independently. More importantly, the incident demonstrates a serious need to separate the office of the Attorney General and that of the Public Prosecutor – so that each party can act freely without fear or favour.

Strengthening the Royal Malaysia Police by Enhancing Accountability
Author: Nicholas Chan

Date: 4 November 2016

This paper examines the structural design and institutional features that empower Malaysia’s top cop, the Inspector General of Police (IGP). The IGP wields considerable power: he sits atop a hierarchical structure that spans multiple policing competencies across the country. The IGP’s powers are further strengthened by a slew of controversial legislative instruments that afford him a great deal of latitude in choosing when and how to apply the laws.

Edisi BM: Pembebasan Ekonomi di Asia
Author: Dr Razeen Sally

Date: 29 June 2016

Kebebasan kian dikikis saban hari di serata dunia, sepertimana yang boleh dilihat di Timur Tengah, Asia Selatan, dan Eropah. Namun, masih terdapat sinar harapan untuk kebebasan dari segi ekonomi. Pengarang Dr. Razeen Sally bermula dengan mengimbas kembali kepada asal usul falsafah liberalisme di Asia dan kemakmuran yang telah dicapai sebelum penjajahan Barat. Jalan Sutera, entrepot Melaka, dan kejayaan empayar India and China yang berjaya khususnya melalui persaingan dalam pasaran bebas, suatu prinsip liberalisme ekonomi yang boleh dilihat pada hari ini. Justeru, kedatangan penjajah Barat telah melenyapkan insititusi liberalisme, sehinggalah abad ke-19, apabila Singapura telah diasaskan oleh Stamford Raffles. Namun begitu, penyebaran liberalisme di Asia terpaksa menempuh pelbagai halangan, sehinggalah ke hari ini.

Financial Burden of Living with Autism
Author: Shanuja Chandran

Date: 21 June 2016

Caring for a child with special needs results in increased spending for families. In addition to direct costs of intervention such as healthcare, education, and medical treatment, parents may also lose income due to missing work, lower productivity, and having to resign from their jobs in order to care for their child. In Malaysia, the cost of 4 sessions of occupational therapy per month takes up approximately 13% of the average household income for a family in the bottom 40%.

The Principles of Political Finance Regulations
Author: Dr. Stefan Melnik

Date: 20 May 2016

Political parties lie at the heart of every democracy in the 21st century, championing the interests of different voters and contributing to society. Central to their continued growth is political financing and its regulation, which differs in the hundreds of democratic countries around the world.

In Policy IDEAS № 29, Dr. Stefan Melnik outlines the role of political parties and the types of financing they receive, as well as identifying the key tenets that should be the foundation of any regulation of political financing.

How Can Malaysia’s Budget Documents Be Improved?
Author: Sri Murniati

Date: 8 April 2016

This paper provides detailed information on which aspects within each budget document that should be improved. It points out the missing information that the government can add to the current document in order for it to be more useful for budget monitoring purposes. The improvements can be done in stages. For a start, the government can begin by publishing the currently unavailable documents or improving the comprehensiveness of the ones that are currently available.

Policy IDEAS No 26: Capitalism in Asia
Author: Dr Razeen Sally

Date: 29 March 2016

This paper will explain on how can capitalism thrive in Asia. Capitalism’s regulations and institutions vary enormously across Asia. So do political systems. Asia has only five high income countries: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. They have living standards equivalent to those in the West. China, Malaysia and Thailand are in the upper middle-income bracket. Most Asian countries are lower middle income, including India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. And some are still very poor. Nepal and Cambodia are still in the low income bracket; Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar and East Timor are only slightly above it. There is also large variation within countries. China’s first tier cities and coastal provinces have much higher living standards than its lower-tier cities and interior provinces. Similar gaps exist in India.