Malaysian forwarders play waiting game with new government


Freight forwarders in Malaysia are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach on how the new government will approach issues relevant to the air freight industry ahead of a meeting on block chain.

Friday 6 July will see a meeting between the government and industry on plans for a White Paper on the technical applications of blockchain. “They are inviting all their stakeholders to come and give their input,” said an official from the Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders (FMFF).

Measures to facilitate trade top out the industry’s wish-list as infrastructure is already more than adequate.

Malaysia has a National Single Window but it is “progressing at a very slow pace” a second official with the FMFF told Air Cargo Week. Both officials asked to remain anonymous as they were commenting on government matters.
Not helping though is government departments operating their own platforms and failing to co-ordinate.

“This perennial problem is still giving us a headache. We are trying to engage with the new ministers,” says the official.

May’s election saw Pakatan Harapan sweep into power restoring former Premier Mahathir Mohamad to office. Adding to the drama, but also the uncertainty, the new government replaces one who had been in power in various guises for close to sixty years.

This has particularly consequences for foreign companies who are responsible for moving some 70 per cent of Malaysia’s air cargo as well as generating exports.

“The foreign investors are a bit cautious about the new government,” the official adds. Some fear far-reaching reforms but others noted Mahathir’s support for business, he adds.
Unlikely to fall is the Digital Free Trade Zone the Alibaba Group is putting in at Kuala Lumpur’s airport despite Alibaba supremo Jack Ma being a partner of just-ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.

However, there is some feeling the deal might be updated to accommodate the views of the new government. “They have to change the business model,” says one official.