... it's being a good break ... Welcome 2014!

Finally ... back to work! It's nothing like a good rest .. catching up with loved ones and friends ... visiting and relaxing with reading and sight seeing ...

Now, for the challenges ahead.

What holds for 2014? Many had asked and the only thing I can say, especially for Malaysia, is uncertainty. Mixed signals have been received from the many economic experts predicting a possible good first half of the year, yet on the ground, many have said that the business sentiment is not that great.

In Malaysia, the year started off unexpectedly, with an event that could derail the optimism for the year. Prayerfully, this would resolve quickly with wisdom by the leadership of the Country. Otherwise, a breakdown in society harmony and political stability would lead to lack of business confidence resulting in economic ruin in the mid to long term.

The Government's withdrawal of subsidies for sugar, petrol, increase in electricity tariff and impending increase of highway toll charges, are some examples, that do not auger well for the commencement of the year. The impact on the common people will definitely slow economic growth as costs increase and the purchasing power reduced. Some expects the economy to be adversely affected unless businesses are able to help turn this situation around.

2014 is the "Visit Malaysia Year" (VMY) and is important that this should have a great start with no hiccups. The tourism industry contributed RM 60.6 billions in tourist receipts and arrivals reaching 25.03 million in 2012. This time around, VMY 2014 will be the biggest and grandest ever tourism celebration with hundreds of events and festivals all lined up to welcome the world. Overall, it is hoped that VMY 2014 will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020.

In the healthcare sector, the VMY 2014, will definitely help drive Malaysia as a preferred health care destination, regionally and internationally.

The Health Ministry will continue to engage the private sector towards developing a universal healthcare system which co-exists with the private healthcare system. The Pharmacy Act will also be expected to be gazetted. This Act will empower the Senior Director of Pharmacy to carry out "reforms" swiftly eg the "pricing and reimbursements" of pharmaceuticals.

Government budget for pharmaceutical purchases will face constraints and the drive towards generics purchase will continue. Under the "Generic Prescription Policy", the private sector is similarly encouraged to do same.

The domestic Manufacturers, and foreign Companies seeking to invest in Malaysia, will be expected to continue to enjoy Government support in the Economic Transformation Programme.

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