Policy Ideas 2019-06-13T17:11:28+00:00
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.

POLICY IDEAS

Policy IDEAS No 24: School Autonomy Case Studies of Private School Chains in Malaysia
Author: Nina Adian Disney

Date: 25 March 2016

This paper takes a look at the notion of autonomy for schools.Two private schools were selected and their use of autonomy was studied. The four areas in which both schools seem to freely practice autonomy are : curriculum, teaching methodology, staffing , financing and governance structures. The author observes that their autonomy allows for the schools to respond to the demand of parents.

Policy IDEAS No 25: Economic Liberalism in Asia
Author: Dr Razeen Sally

Date:  March 2016

Dr Razeen Sally is the author of this paper and he is also the Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, a key think tank in his native Sri Lanka which advises the Sri Lankan government on economic policies.

This paper is an edited version of a speech delivered by Dr Razeen Sally at IDEAS’ Liberalism Conference in Kuala Lumpur on 19 September 2015. This one-day conference was designed to discuss the trends, challenges and future prospects of liberalism in Malaysia, with invited speakers from all sides of the socio-political divide.

A Case Study of a Chinese Independent School
Author: Associate Professor Grace Lee Hooi Yean, Associate Professor Gareth Leeves, Monash University Malaysia

Date: 25 February 2017

This paper present the findings and observations of a case study conducted in a particular Chinese Independent School located in Klang Valley. It elaborates on the efficacy of the school in conducting teacher training to ensure their students’ needs are met and raising funds to ensure sustainability of the school.

Furthermore, this case study looks at how the administration uses its autonomy to cater for its student needs, as well as parents’ opinions on the choice they had made to send their children to various Chinese Independent Schools in general.

Policy IDEAS № 22: Autism – Life after early intervention
Author: Carolyn Hong

Date: October 2015

This paper looks at the educational, care and therapy options for children with autism who are between the ages of nine (upper-limit to when they are able to enter mainstream primary schools) and above. Through interviews with parents, teachers and special needs education, care and therapy providers, and desk-based research the author documents the costs, curriculum, admissions policies and challenges of the main options available. The paper concludes that provision of educational, care and therapy options are lacking and too expensive for the average family in Malaysia.

Policy IDEAS No. 21: Living with Autism
Author: Joanna Menon Lim

Date: July 2015

Once regarded as a rare occurrence, the incidence of autism is now on the rise in Malaysia. This case study explores the level of support available to parents of children with autism through interviews with stakeholders in the field. Four key areas were examined: education and care, healthcare, family and society as well as long term planning. To understand the mechanisms through which income levels influence the parents’ ability to obtain support, three in-depth interviews were conducted with families from low, middle and high income brackets.

Policy IDEAS No 20: Malaysia’s Public-Private Partnerships in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Alternatives to complete carve-out
Authors: Dr David Seth Jones

Date: June 2015

In the ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), it is intended to incorporate public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the chapter on government procurement, thereby opening up mutual access to the PPP markets of the member states.

The New Face of KWAN: Proposals to improve Malaysia’s Natural Resource Fund
Authors: Sri Murniati

Date: March 2015

This paper discusses the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara (KWAN), Malaysia’s natural resource fund. Using good governance frameworks from research on Natural Resource Funds by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the paper evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of KWAN and suggests several improvements. Among them are revising the deposit and withdrawal rules to encourage saving and accountability, improving the oversight mechanism and public disclosure.

ICT in Classroom Learning: Exploring the Discrepancies Between Ideal Conditions and Current Malaysian Policy
Author: Jenny Gryzelius

Date:  February 2015

In 2011, the Ministry of Education launched the 1BestariNet programme – an ambitious initiative to equip all government schools in Malaysia with high-speed internet connectivity, Chromebooks and, a Virtual Learning Environment. This programme was also an attempt to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in the country.  The idea was to have ICT integrated as part of the teaching and learning processes in classrooms in order to enhance student outcomes. However, a closer look at the workings of the 1BestariNet programme unveils the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all approach to planning and implementation of this initiative.  The main weaknesses identified in this paper are: lack of teacher training on how to integrate ICT into pedagogy, inadequate internet speeds and connectivity, and minimal involvement of school leadership when implementing ICT policies into their schools, all of which lead to minimal usage of ICT by teachers in classrooms. In light of these weaknesses this paper recommends that schools need to tailor make their own ICT training programmes, to determine what bandwidth is possible for their condition and what kind of devices would be most beneficial for their student body.

Setting up special needs centres: A focus on early intervention centres for the underprivileged
Author: Tamanna Patel

Date: Dec 2014

This paper looks at the gap in provision of early childhood care, education and therapy services for those with special needs with a specific focus on our experiences with the IDEAS Autism Centre (IAC), a full day child care centre for children with autism which includes education and therapy as well. The need for early intervention centres catering to parents from low-income households is not being adequately met by government or even private sector players. Based on the experiences of the IAC we believe that there are two main challenges to providing affordable early intervention services for low income households in Malaysia

Public Procurement in FTAs : The Challenges for Malaysia
Author: David Seth Jones

Date: December 2014

The paper examines opportunities and challenges for Malaysia if it accedes to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that has public procurement provisions. It examines the key provisions in the procurement chapter of an FTA, and the core principles that shape them, viz. non-discrimination, convergence, and transparency. The paper considers what suppliers must do to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by access to a much larger procurement market, and the consequent benefits to each partner country.

The benefits to Malaysia from the inclusion of procurement in an FTA are then identified, including the increased chances for Malaysian businesses to win contracts in foreign procurement markets, the resultant boost to exports, and improved procurement practices as a result of convergence and transparency.

School choice and school vouchers programmes: Why do they succeed and why do they fail – lessons for Malaysia?
Author: Jenny Gryzelius

Date: November 2014

This paper offers an exploration of the benefit of school choice and how school voucher programmes are a core feature of successfully bringing education choice to all segments of society. School vouchers are flexible arrangements for education funding, where the funding follows the student. By looking at three different school voucher programmes, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Programme in the US state of Wisconsin, and the nationwide voucher programmes in Sweden and the Netherlands, we seek to find a benchmark framework for what regulations and infrastructure need to be in place in order for a programme to be successfully implemented.

Policy IDEAS № 14: Dropping out of school in Malaysia: What we know and what needs to be done
Author: Tamanna Patel

Date: July 2014

In 2013, IDEAS conducted a survey on education, also known as Giving Voice to the Poor, to uncover the needs and aspirations of parents from low-income households around Malaysia. The survey covered over 1,200 respondents of which 150 respondents had at least one child who had dropped out of school. This paper takes a closer look at this group of 150 in an attempt to further understand issues that parents perceive as the reasons for a child dropping out.