Friday, February 8, 2013

MCA’s empty threats — An SME businessman

MCA’s empty threats — An SME businessman

February 08, 2013
Malaysian Insider--Side Views
FEB 8 — Many argue that the most important reason why Pakatan Rakyat must be elected the new federal government in the forthcoming general election is to bring an end to 55 years of Barisan Nasional government. While Umno’s frequent threats that May 13-style riots will occur if the elections produce a new government have lost their effect, the MCA has now joined this “threat game”.

Seeking to claim its traditional role of the party of big business, its president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was reported in the mainstream media over the weekend as saying that Bursa Malaysia will drop 500 points if Pakatan wins, which would “have a direct impact on the national economy”.

Chua went on to say “PAS has also mentioned that it will close Genting and the Bursa. All these will frighten investors, be they local of foreign”. Clearly these are empty threats.

For Pakatan to be elected the new federal government it must have a simple majority in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat, say, about 125 seats.

Because of the gerrymandering of constituencies by numerous Barisan administrations, Pakatan must receive a popular vote exceeding 55 per cent in order to win that number of seats required to form a working
government with a comfortable majority that can also withstand any party-hopping that may occur thereafter.
In this scenario, surely the 55 per cent of Malaysians who voted for Pakatan will not wish to have their newly elected government destabilised at any level, including our economy.

I for one would personally support the stock market if there is a panic sell by the weak-hearted or the cautious, as would many of my business colleagues. I have no doubt that millions of our fellow Malaysians would rally to support the stock market, as we did during the 1998 financial crisis.

It is our public duty to support the new government which we hope to elect, and if that means buying shares on the Bursa, sufficient Malaysians will do that.

In any event, if a major sell-down occurs in the Bursa as a result of a Pakatan victory, the nation’s economic institutions like EPF, PNB, Khazanah and other GLCs would have to do their national duty by supporting the market, something they have done time and again under the Barisan government.

Next, the PAS bogey. PAS has administered Kelantan for more than 20 years, and Kedah for five years. These two PAS state administrations have neither acquired nor appropriated property, assets or businesses belonging to non-Muslims.

The rakyat should also consider the Selangor and Penang experience. The treasuries of both states have been prudently managed, deficits reduced and investments increased. Penang is, as a matter of fact, a grand success story.

The four PR states of Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan have proven their ability by beating the other 10 BN states by attracting RM25 billion in investments comprising 53 per cent of Malaysia’s total investments of RM47.2 billion in 2010.

For the first time in history, Penang is the new champion of investments in Malaysia, coming out top in 2010 with RM12.2 billion. Even, the one-year administration of Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin in Perak was business friendly.

The facts speak for themselves.

There is therefore no factual basis for threatening that our economy would suffer, and calamity would follow if Pakatan comes to power.

In countries like Britain, Australia, India and Japan where governments are frequently replaced at the ballot box, the stock market and foreign investors respond negatively if a party not perceived as business friendly (say, the Labour Party in Britain) is returned to power rather that one that is (like the Conservative Party in Britain).

But such market reactions are temporary, and once the new government assumes power, sets policies and takes decisions, normalcy returns.

Contrary to Dr Chua’s prediction of economic doom and gloom, the business community is confident that the Malaysian economy will thrive under a Pakatan federal government.

Dr Chua’s threats are therefore empty and hollow, and yet again demonstrate the MCA’s desperation.
Only businessmen who have secured corrupt business deals through their connections should be concerned with a change of government. Businessmen who are prepared to do business honestly in an open, transparent and level-playing environment will thrive when Barisan is defeated, just as I, and my other business colleagues, both Bumiputeras and non-Bumis, have discovered in the Pakatan-run state governments.

Malaysians will rise to the occasion to defend the government that they have just elected against all attacks, real or imagined, local or foreign.

* An SME businessman reads The Malaysian Insider.

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