Friday, March 14, 2008


Cautious optimism over polls outcome
Business sector hopeful of economy staying strong


The business fraternity seems to be reacting with cautious optimism to the stunning result of the just-concluded 12th general election, as they remain confident the political change would not adversely impact on the country’s economic health. Chambers of commerce and industry believe there may be no major change in the implementation of economic development plan, particularly the Prime Minister’s brainchild - Development Corridor programmes - despite the marked change in the country’s political landscape. In Sabah and Sarawak, the general election brought about little change as BN managed to retain almost all of its seats. In sharp contrast, the alliance of Democratic Action Party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and PAS captured five states and denied the ruling Barisan Nasional the crucial two- thirds majority to form a strong Federal Government. “There may be some changes in the implementation of development programmes due to the change in the Parliament which decides the yearly budget to be allocated,” said Lawrence Kimkuan, Corporate Planning Manager of KKIP, one of the partners in the implementation of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). “There would probably be some minor changes in terms of funding, approach and implementation,” said Lawrence, adding there are no strong indications whether the whole Development Corridor plan will be drastically changed. He noted that the Federal Cabinet would still be formed by BN and while the line-up would not be the same as the previous ones, the main leader who steers the Government would be the same — Pak Lah. Putting the political differences aside, the business players echoed the same view and expressed their continuous support and trust in the ruling coalition, stressing that there is always room for improvement. Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Frederick Lojingki said that they have great expectations in the ruling coalition, but guided with positive thinking, the business players do not foresee any major obstacles in the long run. “There may be hiccups initially but once everything has settled down and the situation stables, everything will be just fine, it will just be a matter of the past. We are lucky to live in a very fundamental country,” he said when contacted, yesterday. When asked whether the twist in the political scenario in Malaysia will shy away investors, Lojingki added that apart from looking at stability in a country, one will also look for someone who is rationale to work with. “The recent result is a shock to many but it is sending a message to the Government, this is the time to look into matters which need to be improved, such a the delivery system there is room for improvement. This is the concern of many people, some things are not well delivered although there is an existing Government policy. “Having said this, I still believe in the ruling coalition. The lower majority wins is not an excuse look at Kelantan, it has been winning on simple majority for some years, but it was still able to bring development to the state. Only minor readjustment and realignment need to be done, otherwise, the business scenario is well,” he explained. KCCI is also hoping that they would not be left behind in terms of development, stressing that their tireless trust on the ruling coalition is proven in the recent general election. “We also hope that it would bring greater awareness on the need for better cooperation by the Kadazandusun community in business, and we are confident that we have a good Government to draw a just policy that would benefit all quarters,” he said.