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Lifting the market confidence

  • Explicit and unambiguous government policies as well as their effective implementation are vital for local businesses to map out their mid- to long-term corporate strategies.

Sin Chew Daily

ACCCIM says in a report that local businesses are mostly pessimistic about the country's economic prospects for 2019.

However, they generally believe that the national economy should improve during the second half of the year.

As for the economic outlook for next year, more and more businesses are beginning to feel cautiously optimistic.

This report generally reflects how Malaysian businesses look at the country's current economic conditions. They are cautiously optimistic about next year's outlook mainly because they believe the political situation in the country will stabilize then, and that the government's balance sheet will improve following the institution of rationalized public expenses and debt restructuring.. The government has promised to restore the country's economic performance within three years.

Nevertheless, being cautiously optimistic means Malaysian businesses still have some doubts over the economy. According to the report, the respondents feel that there are five major factors that will impact their business operations here, namely domestic market competition, dwindling domestic demand, government policies, rising raw material prices and ringgit exchange rate fluctuation.

The construction industry, for example, will be affected by the government's decision to review major infrastructural projects as well as restructuring of residential and non-residential projects.

As for the other sectors, they might be affected by a host of other factors. Generally speaking, Malaysian businesses are still keeping an eye on the government's strategies to jumpstart the economy.

During the recent "Rise of Asian Tigers Convention", the participants pointed out that in order for the country to emerge again as an "Asian Tiger", it will have to first identify its own problems and ways to overcome the challenges.

This, along with the views ACCCIM has gleaned from the respondents, have reflected how Malaysians think of the Pakatan Harapan government's policies.

It is imperative that the government will take cue from the many issues and problems encountered by local businesses when mapping out its economic strategies and policies to meet the expectations of all.

Malaysia has an edge over other regional countries in the quality of its infrastructure, education and living standard. As such, the government should harness the existing resources to work hand in hand with local businesses in order to provide a stable and business-friendly environment for them.

ACCCIM insists that the government's explicit and clear policies as well as their effective implementation are utterly important for local businesses to map out their mid- to long-term corporate strategies.

Unfortunately many local businesses do not feel the economic openness and market vibrancy.

Where market openness is concerned, the government has even given the public an impression that it is increasingly retrogressive and conservative.

Several cabinet ministers and menteri besars have even brought up the issue of bumiputra agenda due to political needs.

This trend may bog down the country's progress against the backdrop of stiff external and regional competition. It is our hope that PH leaders will look into this matter seriously.

The National Economic Action Council, which has already held its first meeting, should draw up viable short- to mid-term strategies as soon as possible in order to address the pressing issue of skyrocketing cost of living, sluggish private investment and foreign labor shortage.

Most importantly, the government must show Malaysians a clear direction for economic growth and sources of new growth.

 

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