Policy Ideas 2020-10-01T11:18:52+08:00


Policy Paper No 64 – The Future of Malaysia’s Energy Mix
Author: Prof. Renato Lima-de-Oliveira, Mathias Stroh Varming

Date: October  2020

This paper looks at the energy industry of Malaysia which has, paradoxically, recorded both the increase of coal and renewable energy in its matrix. It is in this context that the government will now need to consider the future of energy policy as it develops the 12th Malaysia Plan. Investments in the energy sector, such as power plants, are designed to have a useful life of decades, therefore decisions taken today will impact future generations for years to come.

Author:  Tricia Yeoh

Date: May  2020

This is the second in a series of three policy papers on contemporary challenges surrounding federalism in Malaysia today, the first of which was Policy Ideas No. 59, titled “Restoring the Spirit of Federalism: Policy Options for a New Malaysia”. This paper will explore more exclusively the political influences stemming from the federal government and how to mitigate for such effects for a more well-functioning, sustainable fiscal regime of the country’s states.

Policy Paper No 62 – SMEs’ Compliance Cost in Malaysia
Author: Adli Amirullah, Aiman Wan Alias, Sabrina Sabu

Date: September  2019

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are a vital part of the Malaysian economy, comprising nearly 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Not only that, but many among the B40 (Bottom 40%) income groups are employed in SMEs. Government regulation can have a significant impact on these SMEs and to comply with government regulation constitutes a major burden  in terms of increased cost to operate businesses for the SMEs in Malaysia. If the burden of regulation can be reduced, this will therefore translate into a boost of income for the B40.

In this paper we detail out the results of a survey involving SMEs in Klang Valley, conducted to understand the burden of compliance with government regulation. The objective of this report is to identify how compliance with regulation contributes to the cost of doing business, as well as to inform further discussion about how to reduce these compliance costs.

Policy Paper No 61 – Malaysian Property Market: Affordability and the National Housing Policy
Author: Carmelo Ferlito

Date: June 2019

The policy paper is a follow-up analysis of our previously released study on the Malaysian property market (Ferlito, 2018a). The debate has evolved, and it is mainly focused on the issue of housing affordability, judged primarily by the use of the price/income ratio, which is a very limited instrument. This paper reaffirm the necessity of tackling the affordability issue in the realm of the general property market situation, which in the current scenario is facing a downturn readjustment process.

This paper divide to 4 section, the first section of the present work summarises the previous findings and extends them, taking into account development. In section 2, the paper discusses the approach to affordability and analyse the recently released national housing policy. In section 3, policy recommendations are presented, both with reference to the downturn phase of the property market and to the issue of affordability, with special attention to the possibility offered by the rental market. Section 4 concludes the paper.

Policy Paper No 60 – Economic Impact of Granting Refugees in Malaysia the Right to Work
Author: Laurence Todd, Adli Amirullah, Wan Ya Shin

Date: April 2019
In this paper, we consider the economic impact of granting refugees in Malaysia the right to work. A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. The analysis in this paper also refers to asylum seekers. An asylum seeker is an individual who is seeking international protection. In countries with individualised procedures, an asylum seeker is someone whose claim has not been decided on by the country in which he or she has submitted it. Not every asylum seeker will ultimately be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker. Due to data limitations, the estimates in Parts 3 and 4 refer to the impact of granting refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia the legal right to work.
This paper is organised into four parts:
In Part 1 we consider the current situation for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia; including their treatment under Malaysian law;
In Part 2 we consider the potential economic impact of granting refugees in Malaysia the right to work;
In Part 3 we estimate the impacts identified in Part 2 over a five-year period; and

In Part 4 we consider the potential longer-term economic contribution of refugees and estimate their potential economic contribution over 20 years.

Policy Paper No.59: Reviving the Spirit of Federalism: Decentralisation Policy Options for a New Malaysia
Author: Tricia Yeoh

Date: April 2019

Up to 2008, the spirit of Malaysia’s federalism had all but faded, given the country’s highly centralised institutions and system of political economy. It was only when five states fell to the then national opposition Pakatan Rakyat that same year that the discussion of federal-state relations, especially within Peninsular Malaysia, began to take on a more interesting tone. Over the following ten-year period up to 2018, states – not just those run by the national opposition – began to escalate their claims on a variety of policy issues, ranging to the demands for oil rights in Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak, and Sabah, to self-determination of companies selected to perform waste management services in Penang and Selangor as opposed to these being selected by the federal government. Where the federal government had previously typically responded to state complaints about funding gaps by allocating more funds, the relationship between the centre and the states required a maturing beyond such paternalistic reactions. The 2018 Pakatan Harapan general election manifesto contained a slew of offerings for such states in East Malaysia where the demands were the loudest, including returning Sabah and Sarawak to the status accorded by the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and Promise 24 even committed to “revive the true spirit of federalism”.

Policy Paper No.57: E-hailing regulations: striking the right balance
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.