More power-sharing, stronger opposition in M’sia: PERC


The Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Ltd (Perc) has come up with its Asian Risk Prospects for 2009. It has identified India, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia as high-risk countries for 2008/09. This is what its Executive Summary is saying about Malaysia for 2009.

2008-10-28 15:37 Malaysia political struggle is aggravating long-standing racial and religious sensitivities. Although the odds favor the UMNO-led coalition staving off an attack by the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, the status quo is changing in ways that will see a stronger political opposition than in the past and UMNO forced to share more power with non-Malay groups, including parties from Sabah and Sarawak. This sharing will both give the other partners in the ruling coalition more senior political posts and ensure that they get a larger share of the budget.

I am not quite sure if it’s the “political struggle” that is aggravating racial and religious tensions. Rather, it looks to me like it is certain politicians in Umno and the other BN component parties, certain newspapers, as well as segments within Pas that are stirring such sentiments in an effort to whip up support. Attempts to reform the economy have also fuelled insecurities, as Najib himself found out after his comments on Malay “special privileges” and the Pakatan government in Selangor discovered after trying to put in place someone best qualified to lead PKNS.

How will our main trading partners in the region, China and Singapore, fare?

China will have a difficult year economically in 2009 but not a disastrous one. The environment could see conservatives increase in influence in the government. They will view security threats along the border as a major vulnerability and will push modernization of the military even harder than before. Conservatives could also favor a more cautious approach in reforming state-owned companies and in the kinds of foreign investments state-owned companies make.

Economically, the emphasis of the government will be to sustain economic momentum as much as possible in the face of a markedly weaker export sector. The key variable will be domestic consumer demand. Despite a desire to get average Chinese to spend more, layoffs in factories, weak stock prices and lower real estate prices in key markets like Shanghai are likely to make average Chinese turn more cautious in their consumption. There could also be a rise in demonstrations directed against perceived abuses by local-level officials.

And Singapore:

Singapore has the lowest socio-political risks of any country covered by this report. The domestic political and social situations are very stable and likely to remain so despite the sharp economic slowdown. Institutions like Temasek and GIC are well positioned to capitalize on opportunities that emerge regionally and globally during the financial crisis, and, as in Hong Kong, Singapore’s credentials as a regional and international business center should be enhanced.

That’s a questionably rosy report on Singapore, bearing in mind that it is now in the midst of a recession whereas Malaysia (officially, at least) is not. Blog reader Michael Cheah raises a valid question: What kind of organisation is PERC? Some clues can be found here.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
31 Oct 2008 7.42am

My honest opinion is that when the opposition parties in Singapore share similar ideologies as PAP. Meaningless to simply talking to the Singapore oppositions. And definitely not the Chees

I think the Singapore government must be in sync with the people instead. Talk to the people instead. I don’t mind if the status quo continues as long as the government there has taken all into consideration

Sometimes what has to spend got to spend lah. Not just stick to the rules always.

Me in Singapore for 15 years and still counting

30 Oct 2008 9.03pm

indeed, we have a very depresssing bn gov. how can the other half of population support bn to become a gov to have a performance like this state and vote (who are) power mongers and even (in some cases) corrupt. indeed, we are staying in the depressing state without any solution for rakyat and improve the economic states. what they know is charging double for helicopter deal.. shame, shame, shame on malaysia.. when they ever wake up to be a true leader…. or maybe we never had. sad malaysian.

Andrew I
Andrew I
30 Oct 2008 2.04pm

The common thread linking the countries that are deemed high risk by the PERC is that they are emerging democracies.

In my opinion, if you rock the boat, expect some people to fall off.

30 Oct 2008 8.49am

the main problem with India, thailand, indonesia , malaysia is the same common factor i.e. corruption, nepotism, tidak apa attitude and lack of good governance. … If we can fight this four common factors then these countries will be absolute heavens to live in. This countries have great weather, great natural resources and plenty of everything. But Alas, ’tis only a wish!

30 Oct 2008 12.22am

Frankly, Michael Beckman has written some nice articles some months back, and he made a conclusion that “Malaysia is indeed BODOH, not Boleh”. Judging from the recent incidents like: Ahmad Ismail’s notorious comment on the Chinese, the Utusan malaysia’s sensational reports on ethnicity, language and religion, the use of ISA on reporter,NGO member, state exco and blogger RPK,the PKNS’s key post appointment and etc, this country is indeed BODOH, exactly like what Michael has commented. How to save this country from losing out in the era of globalisation? How to create more jobs for the hundred of thousands of young… Read more »

Adam & The Ants
Adam & The Ants
29 Oct 2008 9.04pm

enough of all these nonsense . when are all the state govt Pakatan or BN going to take action against all those incompetent president, timbalan president and whatever majlis perbandaran joker who are obviously not doing their job but are highly paid for doing nothing. look at the state of this country, not a place that is clean, neat and tidy. the city drains are filled with rubbish the sidewalk overgrown with lalang the list goes on and on. it is time to declare war on all this joker who are not doing their job. in fact they should be… Read more »

29 Oct 2008 4.40pm

Looks like the Singaporean PAP government looks up up to PERC. I agree with the link that they should at least talk to the opposition in Sg.

29 Oct 2008 4.03pm

bn always show on news like election umno mca mic gerakan n oters all r showing off for wat doin nothing 4de rakyats buying helicopter double price frm brazil for wat wan 2 war with oter countrys,simply use our epf money 2 borrow 4wat.general election ask us 2 vote bn after dat win already tey 4get us can enjoy buy big house,car,property,n tk cr of teir own familys not for de rakyats!!went we gt poblem ask 2 hlp tey say busy la wil do 4us nextwk next mth until noting done yet!!cakap sehaja buat tak ada,i am malaysian not umno… Read more »

michael cheah
michael cheah
29 Oct 2008 3.31pm

Hello Anil,

For what it’s worth. You might find this interesting:

Who is PERC?