Date: June 2019
This is the second Projek Pantau Report Card. The first Report, published in April 2019, was a Pilot Report, on which this Report builds with various revisions based on feedback and corrections. Given the relatively short time between this Report Card and the First Report Card, there are relatively few major updates. The First Report Card covered the period from 9 May 2018 until 31st March 2019. This Second Report Card includes the period from 1st April 2019 to 14th June 2019. From now on Report Cards will be published every 6 months, in June and December each year. In addition, this Second Report Card includes a number of new promises. We have chosen to analyse a total of 224 sub-promises, broken down from 27 main promises. We are focusing on promises which relate to the economy, institutional reforms and education, and are therefore considering all promises under Pillar 1 (Reduce the People’s Burden) and Pillar 3 (Spur Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth), alongside five promises from Pillar 2 (Institutional Reforms) and Pillar 5 (Create a Malaysia that is Inclusive, Moderate and Respected Globally), which we consider to be very important for the government to tackle in the next four years of the Pakatan Harapan government’s first term of administration. In order to reach the conclusion for each promise, we have analysed any publicly available information such as news reports and government policy documents. A detailed description of the methodology is provided in the Appendix.
Date: April 2019
Projek Pantau is inspired by this spirit of openness in the New Malaysia. The intention is to provide a transparent assessment of the government’s performance in delivering its manifesto promises relating to the economy. The project will include a series of “report cards” assessing the government’s performance to date – of which this is the first. The purpose of this report card is to provide a benchmark in which the Rakyat can evaluate the government’s performance in fulfilling their manifesto promises. In addition, this report card is also intended to be a document that the PH government can use as a reference in their ongoing efforts to realise their reform agenda.
For this first report, we have chosen to analyse a total of 192 sub-promises, broken down from 23 main promises. We are focusing on promises which relate to the economy, and are therefore considering all promises under Pillar 1 (Reduce the People’s Burden) and Pillar 3 (Spur Sustainable and Equitable Economic Growth), alongside three promises from Pillar 2 (Institutional and Political Reforms), that we consider to be critical to the government’s economic agenda, specifically the promises relating to Government Linked Companies (GLCs), public procurement and the budget. In future report cards we will consider expanding the number of promises.
For each sub-promise we have scored the government’s i) political commitment, ii) policy direction and iii) implementation. Based on these scores we have then given each promise an overall “verdict”. To reach these conclusions we have analysed publicly available information such as news reports and government policy documents. We have taken account of any publicly available information up until 31 March 2019. Inevitably, reaching judgements in the government’s performance is subjective, so we have engaged other civil society organisations and experts on our scores and provided explanatory notes for our assessments. We welcome feedback on the analysis provided here – our aim is to support and stimulate discussion.
Date: March 2019
The Hinrich Foundation, Malaysia Australia Business Council, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) and AlphaBeta launched a new report, titled, “The Data Revolution: How Malaysia can capture the digital trade opportunity at home and abroad”, on March 20, 2019.
The report examines the current and potential impact of digital trade at home and quantifies the economic value of technological gains enabled by digital trade. It also recommends perceived concerns related to digital trade and how they can be addressed.
The report finds digital exports of Malaysia accounts for about 3 percent of total export value today, but this could grow by a massive 298 percent in the absence of digital trade barriers.
Date: December 2018
In this report under the API we consider the economic relationship between ASEAN and the European Union (EU). The comparison is often made between these two regional blocs, which represent the two leading efforts to integrate their respective regions. The EU’s economic integration is significantly deeper and supported by a far more developed institutional and legal framework. The EU is in general more economically developed than ASEAN and is also more homogeneous in its level of development across its Member States than is the case across the 10 members of ASEAN. Although both have been widening over the years by accepting new members, this has added more to ASEAN’s overall diversity than it has the EU’s, further increasing the overall heterogeneity between the two groupings. Despite these differences, we believe that ASEAN and the EU share an essential similarity: they are both groupings of countries that recognise the importance of regional integration and the benefits of trade and investment in the context of a rules-based system. We therefore believe that putting the economic relations between the EU and ASEAN on the best possible footing is crucial to the long-term prosperity of ASEAN, as well as the EU.
Date: December 2018
This report, aim to provide an external assessment of implementation of AEC Blueprint 2025. The scope of the AEC Blueprint is very broad, and our resources are modest in comparison – as a result this report is intended to serve as a foundation which we will build on in future reports.
To prepare this report, we have sought to follow the approach set out in the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework prepared by the AIMO of measuring both outcomes and compliance. The report is therefore structured as follows:
- Assessment of the outcomes of ASEAN integration using a set of economic indicators;
- Assessment of the implementation of the CSAP using publicly available information on measures and action which have been implemented; and
- Commentary on the broad messages of these assessments; and
- A sector “deep dive” for aviation, to consider issues relating to air transport integration
Date: December 2018
Malaysia’s paddy and rice sector is one of the most assisted and subsidized industries within the country, which has severe implications on the cost of rice production as well as the productivity of the industry. The government is faced with a challenging sectorial objective to balance between national food security, farmer welfare and low consumer prices.With the paddy sector’s stagnating productivity growth and the subsidy programs presenting an ever-increasing fiscal burden, there is a call to review and recalibrate how we approach these challenges.
In 2018, IDEAS conducted a research study of 125 interviews with paddy farmers from two major granary areas, MADA and IADABLS, to explore the efficacy of subsidies in Malaysia’s paddy sector in improving farmers’ welfare. Additional data were collected through focus group discussions with farmers and institutional officers to cross-reference the data collected. This Policy Ideas presents the findings of the study and the impact that agricultural subsidies have on farmers’ yield, income, cost and behavior.
Date: August 2018
A lack of access to financial markets is a common challenge faced by the poor across ASEAN countries. Without access to traditional lines of credit or banking, the poor and undocumented often rely on informal means to manage their money. Moneylending is a form of informal financing that has played an important role in facilitating private sector growth and the livelihood of communities that fall beyond the reach of the formal financial system.
There is much confusion among the public in Malaysia between licensed money lending and loan sharking, negatively tainting the reputation of licensed moneylenders. In addition, some think that licensed moneylenders have the same business model and operate exactly like a bank. To deal with these issues and other misconceptions faced by the industry, a heavy handed enforcement approach has been adopted by the government. These efforts empower the police and authorities with increasing powers, and has resulted in unintended consequences that choke the operations of licensed moneylenders.
Intellectual property protection has a positive effect on all four economic indicators: gross domestic product (GDP), trade, foreign direct investments (FDI) and the level of innovation. The confidence it gives investors leads to inflows of foreign capital that promote technology competition, which in turn fosters innovation. As a result, higher quality goods and service are produced within the country more efficiently. This would increases the competitive advantage of the county in terms of exports and positively impact its GDP growth.
This paper presents the state of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection in ASEAN using the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) Index and ascertains why some countries have been more successful in safeguarding IPR compared with others. The GIPC Index evaluates the level of IP protection in a country based on 30 indicators. In ASEAN, countries have significantly varied performances with countries like Singapore and Malaysia performing well, while Thailand and Vietnam perform poorly.
Studies have shown that better health outcomes are reached with increased trade openness and human development, particularly in lower-income countries. To facilitate international trade and catalyse economic growth, countries should promote robust intellectual property rights (IPR). A strong and effective IPR system will support, protect and stimulate innovation. It will also encourage transfers of technology and increase the availability of products in new markets.
The link between IPR protection and drug affordability is controversial. The price of medicine is strongly influenced by the considerable amounts of money that is invested by pharmaceutical companies into the development of new treatments, the majority of which fail. Generics have an important role to play in adjusting price mechanisms but are sometimes an unreliable substitute. A number of developing countries have argued that IPR can hamper their ability to intervene in public health matters and decrease accessibility, but this paper suggest that steps can be taken to mitigate these concerns.
Despite a moratorium by the Indonesian government rejecting new logging concessions since May 2011, Indonesia saw 840,000 hectares of forests cleared in 2012 and deforestation levels continue to increase at an alarming rate every year. International experiences have shown that chances of sustainable long-term forest management improve when the ownership and management of forest resources remain with local communities.
This paper is an edited version of a keynote speech delivered by the author at the Conference on U.S-Malaysia Commercial Relations in Kuala Lumpur on 26 August 2015, organised by the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the US Chamber of Commerce. In the speech, the author explains several myths surrounding traderelated issues in Malaysia today, and he goes on to call the private sector to be more active in engaging the public.
Economies that rely on openness and trade for their prosperity must be based on sound and secure property rights, including intellectual property rights. Increasingly, the basis for sound economic policy is coming under threat from activists who display an anti-market bias.
In 2014, more than 400,000 Indonesians officially left their villages and joined millions of Indonesians who are working in foreign countries. They mostly come from low-income households in rural and remote parts of Indonesia. Through their regular remittances to local bank accounts they support their families and villages at home with more than USD 8 billion per year (2014). The World Bank estimated these remittances have lowered the poverty rate in Indonesia by 26.7% during 2000 – 2007. They are of tremendous importance for inclusive growth and equitable opportunities for the Indonesian countryside
Trade is part of human nature. There are many things and services that people need for survival and convenience that they themselves cannot produce efficiently. Hence, trade between and among people has occurred naturally.
If trade is so basic and important, it should be kept as free as possible, with minimal hindrance and restrictions by politicians and other special interest groups via high tariffs and various non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
For trade between and among people in different countries, or at least within a region to be truly free, trade liberalization should be done unilaterally
These functions of government are based on the fundamental understanding that the citizens are the bosses, the principals, and the politicians and bureaucrats their temporarily elected or appointed agents. Worldwide experience has shown that, in most circumstances, only well-protected individuals and firms can make the right choices and find the right knowledge to advance, as far as possible, the material and psychological well-being of all. As experience with central planning has shown time and again, government agencies simply lack theknowledge to choose what is in the best long-term interest of the people.
Date: March 2018
IDEAS is a member of the Asia Democracy Research Network (ADRN), a network of think tanks and research organisations from across Asia that works on strengthening democracy in the region. In 2017, IDEAS Coordinator of Democracy and Governance, Aira Azhari contributed a chapter on Malaysia in an ADRN publication entitled “Combating Corruption toward Clean Governance in Asia: Country Cases.” This special report evaluates the current state of corruption in the region by studying the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s mechanisms including law and regulations, public participation, and public governance. The report investigates pressing, contemporary questions such as: What is the state of corruption in Asia? What successes and failures has each country experienced in controlling corruption? How can state of corruption in Asia be improved?