Too early to tell how Trump win will impact businesses here

KUALA LUMPUR: It is too early to say how Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election could affect businesses here, according to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon.

“Trump has said a lot of things on creating new policies but I don’t know what he is going to implement,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with seven industry and trade organisations to support institutional reforms in political financing in Malaysia here last Friday.

“But we must also recognise that he has no complete authority and he is not a dictator, so he may not be able to do many things that he wants to do, but again it is too early to say what’s going to happen,” he added.

Trump’s economic proposals comprise four broad categories, including trade and immigration, tax reform, spending and regulatory change.

The outspoken president-elect, who will take office on Jan 20, 2017, has said he will use all means available to get a “better deal” for the US from its trading partners, including rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Earlier, Saw said money politics can lead to favoritism and rent seeking activities, which would overflow into the business sector, thus creating unfair competition, higher cost of doing business and inefficient use of resources in government contracts disbursement.

He was speaking on behalf of representatives from the Malay Businessman and Industrialist Association of Malaysia (Perdasama), Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, SME Association of Malaysia, Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association, Malaysian Employers Federation, Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation and FMM.

Saw said while the business sector recognises that political parties require funding to support their activities, there is a need for greater transparency, accountability and disclosure.

Therefore, he said, the country needs to have a system that balances between the need for transparency and to protect individual or corporate donors against victimisation when a donation is made to any political party.

In addition, Saw said, donations must be voluntary and there should have limits, to ensure that no one is forced to make a donation to any political party.

“We are requesting the government and the political parties to proceed carrying out this institutional reform in order to build and develop sustainable and robust industry. We just want a conducive environment for businesses, where we can compete based on our ability and not on our relationships (with any political parties),” he added.