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?