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Friday, June 29, 2018

Speak to stakeholders or risk taking missteps, ministers told

Prominent businessman laments lack of consultation by new ministers and MPs.
The recent announcement on barring foreigners to work as cooks is an example where discussions should have been held with stakeholders, says businessman Ameer Ali Mydin. (Bernama pic)
KUALA LUMPUR: Federal ministers should engage businesses more before making policy announcements to avoid “missteps”, says prominent businessman Ameer Ali Mydin.
The managing director of the Mydin hypermarket told FMT there had not been enough engagement by new ministers with the business community.
“Before they were ministers, they talked about such consultation with stakeholders, but we now find this isn’t happening often enough.
“Maybe they are enthusiastic about wanting things to move fast, which is good.
“But if you don’t consult the stakeholders, you might take a misstep,” said Ameer on the sidelines of a talk titled “Cost of living in Malaysia: Asking the right policy questions”.
Ameer cited the example of the announcement by Human Resources Minister P Kulasegaran that the government would no longer allow foreigners to work as cooks next year.
Kulasegaran subsequently said that it was only a suggestion, following a backlash against the idea.
“Employers don’t want to hire foreigners. It’s added responsibility for us, but for the lower-level jobs, locals are less dependable.”
He said foreign workers would definitely show up for work because they had much to lose if they didn’t.
“The problem with employment of foreigners is that the system before this wasn’t transparent and so it was abused.
“I hope the recruitment of foreign workers is made more transparent.”
Ameer had also voiced his concern over the need to engage stakeholders in matters such as the idea of abolishing the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and increasing the minimum wage.
Shahridan Faiez, from Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia, also highlighted the importance of consultation when crafting policies.
“In Indonesia, they increased the minimum wage. This was done in a comprehensive manner and succeeded in having a positive impact.
“It was comprehensive because they first studied the impact the move would have on various stakeholders.”
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, who was present, said there was a need to better structure the discussions between stakeholders and MPs, ministers or other members of the administration.
“As an MP, I’ve seen how civil societies engaged elected representatives. Perhaps, we can look at that for other sectors.
“I’m not sure whether any of this is being done but it is a good way forward.” -FMT

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