‘Too much information’: Half of businesses in survey unnerved by Pakatan’s verbosity on undecided policies

Head of Ipsos Business Consulting Kiranjit Singh (left) and Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon speaks at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 2, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Head of Ipsos Business Consulting Kiranjit Singh (left) and Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon speaks at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur May 2, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Business owners’ confidence were shaken by an excess of communication from Pakatan Harapan (PH) on economic policy matters, according to survey findings released today.

Head of Ipsos Business Consulting Kiranjit Singh said consistency and predictability were vital for business planning and recommended that the government avoid publicly discussing policy matters when these were still in preliminary stages.

Doing so would reduce misinterpretations among businesses that could cause further uncertainty and anxiety, he said.

“Fifty-two per cent of the businesses were unsure where the country’s policies are going and this is not due to lack of information, but too much information,” he said in his presentation here on the survey titled “What Worries Malaysia Businesses?”

He added that inconsistent statements from top government leaders as reported in the news has raised concerns amongst the business community.

However, he stressed that businesses were still bullish about the administration despite seeing room for improvement.

Kiranjit said businesses were fairly positive of their prospects in the country over the next one year, although the level of optimism has dropped from 3.5 last July to 3.1 in 2019 in the Ipsos index.

He said the 250 businesses surveyed in Malaysia last month — which includes small and medium enterprises (SMEs), local large enterprises, and multinational companies (MNCs) — were mostly concerned over a possible economic slowdown, uncertainty over government policies, and the ringgit’s depreciation.

He said the businesses also want the government to invest more in digital infrastructure to boost the competitiveness of Malaysia’s economy.

“About 80 per cent of the companies would like the government to focus on digital infrastructure nationwide, saying that it can be better.

“They would also like to see better local rail infrastructure to boost connectivity in terms of short-distanced cargo, and also for the government to look into renewable energy as they businesses would like to have diversification of energy sources,” he said.

Moving forward, Kiranjit said it is important for the government to address the issues, which include communicating its economic blueprint more clearly and consistently to the business community.

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